Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Parables of Jesus: The Speck in Your Brother's Eye

Matthew 7:[3]-5:

And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother' s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother' s eye.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

Do you remember Jesus' teaching that the eye is the lamp of the body? This continues in that vein, somewhat. In this case, we see motes and beams that are in the eye--which, if we continue in the same thought pattern, causes darkness within. What Jesus is alluding to here is sin.

We have a tendency, don't we? To see the sin in others, but not in ourselves? It's because observation of others is easier than observation of the self, because one is more passive, and the other more active. You have to actively examine yourself to see where your faults lie. You don't really have to do that with others. You just kind of notice it. It's there in your face, especially if it's a sin that you happen to take pride in avoiding, yourself.

But, Jesus isn't comparing apples to apples here. It's not like He's saying, don't clean the speck out of your brother's eye, when there's a speck in yours. Rather, it's more like apples to oranges. He's saying, don't try to clean the speck out of your brother's eye, when there is a beam in your own.

Not only are you a hypocrite for behaving this way, but you're also ineffective. How can the blind lead the blind? If you are in grave sin, how can you expect to help your brother with his venial sin? Look to yourself first. Find healing from the Lord for yourself first.

So, there's two things here. There's "seeing" the mote in your brother's eye--this pertains to a judgmental attitude, which is hypocritical when we have beams in our own eyes. There is also "saying," "let me cast out the mote" of my brother's eye--this pertains to ineffective help, but also has a certain quality of judgment to it. This becomes clearer when you examine the preceding verses.

Judge not, that you may not be judged, For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.

The "seeing" is the judgment your judge, and the "saying" is the measure you mete. For, do we not, in our effort to "correct" our brother, exact a certain amount of justice upon him?

Consider this: you are at Mass, and you notice a family coming into Mass late. How do you react internally, and how do you react externally? Internally, do you say to yourself, "come on people, don't you know it's a sin to come in to Mass late?" You have just "seen" the speck in your brother's eye. But you, holding this judgment in your heart, are guilty of not discerning the Body--the unity of the Christian family--because you now hold something against your brother that you have not settled with him before offering the sacrifice.

Now, what do you do externally? Do you approach the family after Mass and "correct" them for not coming to Mass on time? Now you are "saying" let me take out the mote, but meanwhile you are causing humiliation, and are guilty of harming their reputation.

With what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Let us first recognize the beams in our own eyes, the great sins that we have to triumph over. And then, recognizing the magnitude of these sins, let us approach our neighbor with an attitude of offering them the benefit of the doubt; perhaps they do not know what they are doing is a sin. Be merciful, and you shall receive mercy. Be forgiving, and you shall be forgiven.

It's okay to help your brother, and to draw out the sin from his life. Just make sure not to become a hypocrite in the process.

God bless, and thank you for reading!

The Parables of Jesus: Serving God and Mammon

Matthew 6:[24]-34:

No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?

Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith?

Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

Happy Palm Sunday! Are you excited to be entering Holy Week? I am! It's the most important time of the Liturgical year. All the graces the flow from the Sacraments through the rest of the year, draw from the Easter Triduum. That's why there's so much going on this coming week! So exciting!

Anyway, on to my post!

For me, this teaching has always been fairly straightforward. However, upon further reflection, there are certainly some things to note.

To begin, Jesus says you cannot serve two masters. Note, Jesus uses the word "master" here. Within the context of the day, a master was a slave-owner, or one who had working servants. I think that helps to clarify the comparison Jesus is making here. As a slave, or even as a servant, although to a lesser degree, you served only one master. You were not owned by two, and split your time between the two. And if you were and did, then it is as Jesus has said, you would either hate one and love the other (because the demands of one might be greater or less than the other, and the reward of one might be greater or less than the other), or you will sustain the one and despise the other (because you will tend, inevitably, to spend more time in service to one than the other).

Consider a more modern-day example. Have you ever worked a job wherein you had two managers, or your position was ambiguous, and two of the higher-ups had some claim to be your manager? I have. I work as a project accountant. Typically, that means you work on site, but your direct manager is in the head office. Well, in that scenario, there will be a non-accounting supervisor on site, who will demand time and work from you, and that will often clash with the work priorities that your manager in head office demands of you. It's very difficult to satisfy both demands, and you always end up having to choose between the two which to prioritize.

So who are you choosing between here? God and mammon. The word mammon, by the way, does not appear anywhere in the Old Testament, but only in the New, and is typically understood to mean money, wealth, riches, worldly interests, or "that which you put your trust in." So, does Jesus mean greed here? Is He talking about vice? Not specifically, I don't think. Look at what He follows this with.

"Be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on." If mammon is wealth, or worldly interests, Jesus is drawing our attention to that which our riches are directed--food and clothing. We pursue possessions in order to secure our basic necessities. At least as a minimum. We can, of course, go beyond this, as a matter of competition--to have the biggest car, the highest brand clothing, the biggest house, etc., are status symbols. But at this point we've moved into the realm of vices, but Jesus doesn't go that far, He's talking about the basic necessities--we should not even worry about those.

Then He makes a really stark point. Birds don't "protect" themselves against future hardships. They simply live, going about their lives without worrying about what they will eat. When they're hungry, they eat. A wheat doesn't worry about what it wears, yet wheat is clothed by the design of God. And birds live and die, and the wheat today grows, and tomorrow is burned in the fire--but we are of much more importance. We are made to live with God forever. Remember that. That's what God intends for you, that's why He created you in the first place. If He looks after these things that live and die and cease to exist, so fastidiously, then how much more will He look after us, who He has made to live with Him forever?

So what? Does that mean we don't think about tomorrow, at all? Do we not make plans, and work to store up food, and make money to feed and clothe ourselves? Yes, of course we do these things, especially if we have families to care for. The answer to this question which Jesus offers to us is this: "Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice." Seek first the kingdom of God. Make it your first priority. Do all these other things, but recognize that they are secondary to God. Seek God first.

Don't be surprised when you see wicked men with money beyond imagining--they have made it their master, and they serve it first before all else. We do not, but that's okay, because God takes care of us. Our wealth is the wealth of His love, the virtue of our lives, the peace which this brings to our souls, and the love of family and friends. They might have a lot of money, but they do not have these other things.

Finally, remember Jesus' last word on this: "Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. There is enough evil in each day that you must battle against in your service to God, your master. You shouldn't have time to worry about tomorrow. Focus on fighting against evil, focus on serving God, seeking His kingdom and justice, and don't worry about the rest, for "all these things shall be added unto you."

Thank you for reading, and God bless you!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Parables of Jesus: The Eye is the Lamp of the Body

Matthew 6:[22]-23:

The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome. But if thy eye be evil thy whole body shall be darksome. If then the light that is in thee, be darkness: the darkness itself how great shall it be!

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

Jesus warns us about what we allow into ourselves through our eyes (and by extension, all of our senses). He uses the metaphor of light once again. When we look at the sun, a bright and healthy sun illuminates the earth, and life grows and thrives. However, if that light is blocked off, darkness covers the earth, cold sets in, and life withers and dies.

The word "single" in the quote above is variously translated as "healthy, clear, perfect, sound, good". So, if you were confused by that, this is what He means by it. If your eye is healthy, your body will be filled with light. That is, you can see, the world around you is clear, and you can navigate it without fear of harm.

If your eye is evil, that is, not well, then your body will be filled with darkness. You will be unable to see the world about you, you will walk in fear of harm, and be unable to navigate the world with certainty.

Jesus then says "if the light that is in thee, be darkness: the darkness itself how great shall it be." If you find is strange that Jesus calls "light" "darkness", well you're not alone. I found it odd as well. But there's a reason He does this. Consider Isaiah 5:[20]: Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. We can, ourselves, call the darkness light. We can exchange in our own hearts, the light for darkness.

There is a subtle truth that Jesus is alluding to here: there is light, or darkness, that emanates from within, and whatever we have within us, we pursue outside of ourselves, and then draw it back into us, either brightening the light that we already have, or darkening the darkness that is already within us. This is why He says "the darkness itself how great shall it be".

And we observe this don't we? The desires of our hearts, we chase. But if those desires are wicked, then what we allow into our bodies through our eyes (and senses) will also be wicked, and this darkens our hearts further. But if our desires are good, then what we allow in through the senses will also be good, and brighten our hearts all the more.

The warning, then, is this: protect that light, and only allow into your eyes that which is also light, and good, and wholesome, and holy. Otherwise, you way extinguish the light that is within you, and cause your heart to be darkened by evil.

Remember, this teaching is given to us in with the wider context of the treasure of our hearts. Go back to Matthew 6:[19]-21: Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.

For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. Let your treasure be God in heaven. And protect that treasure by protecting your heart, and only allowing into your heart that which is good and holy.

Protect your eyes from the glamour of worldly goods.

Thank you for reading, and God bless you!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Parables of Jesus: Light of the World

Matthew 5:[14]-16:

You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

I'm just going to jump right into this today. No preamble.

So this one is very similar to Salt of the Earth. It's given to us in the same context: that of the beatitudes, and actually follows immediately after the Salt of the Earth. So what about it? Why does Jesus call us the light of the world?

To explain what He means, He makes two other comparisons: a city seated on a mountain, and a candlestick. A city on a mountain cannot be hid. Also, a candle is not lit to be hidden, but to bring light to all in the house. So, there's really two elements to this.

The first is that you, being a city seated on a mountain, cannot be hidden. Jesus is the mountain. Our Faith is the mountain. The Church is the mountain. And we, being seated here, cannot be hidden. Those who know who we are watch us. They watch what we do. They see us, and they measure. As the Church, we proclaim absolute morality, we declare truth, we profess that we hold the whole truth. Therefore, since this is our claim, our declaration, our profession, people observe to see if we measure up to that Faith. Whether we like it or not, we are that city seated on a mountain. We are automatically, by declaration of our Faith, representatives of that Faith, and how we behave is how we represent.

The second is that you, being a candle lit by God, are not intended to be hidden under a bushel. No, God has lit you up in order that you might shine before all men, that they may see, and seeing the truth, bring praise and glory to God, who is in heaven.

So, not only can you not hide yourself, but doing so is against the will of God. This teaching is, as I said earlier, given to us in the context of the Beatitudes. This is important. This informs how it is we are to shine before others.

When Jesus says, "that they may see your good works," He intends for us to understand these works to be in relation to the beatitudes. The beatitudes, strictly speaking, aren't works though. All in all, they are either dispositions or things that happen to you because of your disposition or Faith. That doesn't mean there aren't works that are associated with these. Briefly, I will say a few words about each beatitude in this regard, just as I did in the last post.

Blessed are the poor in spirit. When one is humble, he is not above any kind of work. Look at Mother Theresa for an example here. She went into the garbage pits of India to offer whatever comfort to the people living there that she could offer. That is poverty of spirit. If you're a manager at a large corporation, are you too good to do the basic, menial tasks? What about those works that don't garner any recognition or praise? Do you do those? Don't be afraid to do the things people don't normally want to do.

Blessed are the meek. As I talked about last time, meekness is about being in control of your passions. Works associated with this require gentleness. To have a kind word, when you want to shout at the person who's being aggravating. It is not being forceful, when you want your way, but being willing to fulfill the will or desire of another instead. Show restraint. Don't gobble down that cake like you're going to die tomorrow. Show moderation. When everything around you is falling apart, or all your friends are drunk, you're in control, collected. You don't need to indulge yourself to be happy. Only serve the Lord.

Blessed are they that mourn. No, this doesn't mean be weepy all the time. It means to be sensitive to the suffering of others, and to be sensitive the ugliness of sin and injustice. The work that draws from this is to seek to comfort others in their sorrow and pain. It is to be able to sit in silent support of the one who is weeping in sorrow, and not try to fix the problem because you're uncomfortable by the crying. Just be there, when you're needed. Accept others' vulnerability, and be willing to be vulnerable.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice. This one might seem more obvious, but I think it's a bit nuanced. Justice is also translated as righteousness, in some Bibles. There's a reason for that. We tend to think of justice as being on the right side of the law, for having "justice served," and making sure people are punished for their crimes. That's a part of it, but that's really only a part. Justice, in the Christian understanding, is the manner in which God intended to things to be. For humanity, that means being righteous, and holy. It means being in union with God, and communion with our neighbors. He who hungers and thirsts after justice, seeks always the will of God. Holiness isn't something we are forced to do, but don't really wanna. Rather, it's something we thirst for, something we crave. Pray. Read Scripture. Practice virtue. Do penance. Fulfill the righteous requirements of this holy religion that is our Faith.

Blessed are the merciful. In the prayer that Jesus taught us, the Our Father, we ask God to forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. We have to be merciful to those who seek mercy, and we have to have a heart willing to forgive those who have not yet sought our forgiveness. Otherwise, we will be subject to the same judgment by which we judged others. If we are merciful, God will be merciful to us. But it's not just for our sake. Having a merciful heart means understanding how often and how deep God's forgiveness for our own sins is. We ask forgiveness in Confession, then the next day we go out and sin the same sin, and we do this over and over again. Yet, God forgives us. The magnitude of the sins we have committed against Him for exceeds whatever has been done against us. Recognize this, and forgive. Tell the person who has sinned against you, "I forgive you". It can be transformational.

Blessed are the clean of heart. Do not use people. Do not look at pornography. Don't have cheap sex. Don't look at people like the next opportunity. Be self-donating. Listen, even when you don't want to. Look for the beauty that rests within all people. They are made in the image and likeness of God. Give your time and energy to people, not for your own benefit, but because they are dignified persons worthy of your time and energy. Volunteer your time. Do good for others without expectation of return.

Blessed are the peacemakers. When you're in a fight, it's very easy to allow things to escalate, especially when you want to win. Being a peacemaker means looking for the good in the one you're fighting with, and offering them the compliment. It means accepting defeat, even if you have the upper-hand. It also means being attentive to the sources of conflict, and managing things--your own behavior, as well as others, and environmental factors--in such a way as to reduce the possibility of conflict arising. Recognize that God intended us to live in communion with one another, not in disunity. This also applies to inner peace. Be attentive to the conflict that exists in others, and yourself, and look for ways to help resolve that conflict.

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake. You say you believe that this or that is the right thing to do--that it is righteous? What if someone laughs at you for it? What if you get kicked out of school for it? What if someone attacks your family and loved ones to teach you a lesson, or to shut you up? Are you willing to suffer for what is true and right and good? Jesus is calling you to this. He expects this to happen to you. Stand firm. Remember, you are a city seated on a mountain. Let them come.

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake. If you are willing to suffer for your principles, you must also be willing to suffer for Him. Remember, Jesus doesn't say, "blessed are ye if they revile you." Rather, He says, "blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you[...] for my sake." You will be persecuted. You don't need to worry about going out of your way on this one. When you profess your Faith in Him, they will do this to you. Again, do not falter. He is with you. You are the candle that God has lit, and you will not be hidden, but will shine for all in the house to see. Shine bright, and let them come.

God bless, and thank you for reading.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Parables of Jesus: Salt of the Earth

Matthew 5:[13]:

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

You are the salt of the earth. Remember that! It's a short passage. It's not really, technically a parable. But we'll work with it anyway.

I've seen explanations of what it means to be the salt of the earth by people who go through all the different uses that salt has, such as that it's a preservative, or it's used to soften meat, or it has healing properties. However, I happen to think it's pretty clear what meaning Jesus intended to give it. He says, "but if the salt lose its savour..." He's really talking about the flavour that salt gives to food.

So, what? Is Jesus saying we should be flavourful? Well... kinda, yeah.

Let's take a step back for a moment and shed some context on this passage a little bit. Jesus says this during His sermon on the mount. In fact, He has just concluded the Beatitudes. Thus, it is within the context of the beatitudes that we ought to understand this passage.

Jesus tells us "blessed are the poor in spirit[,] blessed are the meek[,] blessed are they that mourn[,] blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice[,] blessed are the merciful[,] blessed are the clean of heart[,] blessed are the peacemakers[,] blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake[,] blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake." Then, immediately after this, He says "you are the salt of the earth". He follows this up with a warning, "if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men."

So here's my reading of it. To be the salt of the earth, we must be humble, and meek, and mourn, and hunger and thirst after justice, and be merciful, and clean of heart, and be peacemakers, and suffer persecution of justice' sake, and suffer persecution for Jesus' sake. And if we don't do these things, then we are "good for nothing but to be cast out."

But why!?

There is a two-fold answer to this. Jesus makes it clear that each of these beatitudes comes with its own blessing. Humility brings the kingdom of heaven. Meekness brings possession of the land. Mourning brings comfort. And so on. But these are all for the benefit of the one being beatified. However, this is also a benefit to others, to those who come in contact with such a person. It is here that I believe Jesus brings in the "savour" of being salt.

We could eat food plainly, but most of us like to spice it up. Plain food or rich food, both offer the sustenance we need to live, but most of us, being offered a choice between something plain and something rich, would opt for the rich food over the plain. We do this because it's pleasing to our senses. It is more enjoyable. Salt is a common mineral that we add to food to make it more savoury, more enjoyable. What happens if salt loses its ability to enhance food? Well, we'd throw it out.

Likewise, we must be "salty". We as Christians are supposed to enrich the lives of those around us. We are supposed to be attractive, in order that our lives might draw those around us to Christ. We do this through the beatitudes. The beatitudes make us beautiful, and attractive to our neighbors.

But how? Well, I'll briefly say a word or two about how each of the beatitudes does this.

Blessed are the poor in spirit. The humble person recognizes exactly the truth about themselves. They neither boast, nor self-deprecate. They recognize that everything they accomplish is by the grace of God, but also recognize that their yes, and their action is a necessary part for that grace to be brought to fruition. So, such a person neither comes across as arrogant, nor falsely humble. Simply put, they have no need to talk about themselves, and are more interested in you. That's attractive because you know they have a clarity of mind that ensures they won't exaggerate your own greatness or diminution, but will see you just for who you are.

Blessed are the meek. This is not humility, nor is it strictly gentleness, though the meek person is certainly gentle. Rather, the best way I've heard this quality described is within the context of horse-breaking. A horse that has been brought under the mastery of the owner is said to be "meeked". This image is especially useful if you think about the wild stallion, full of passion and energy, being brought under the control of a good master. It is strength and passion under control. People who are in control of themselves--not wimpy or weak, just in control--are attractive people, because you can have confidence they will not lose themselves in fits of passion--and perhaps cause you harm.

Blessed are they that mourn. To be able to mourn is a strength. This doesn't mean someone who is always weepy, or who cries at every commercial on TV that has puppies and babies in them. Rather, it is to be mournful when appropriate: at the loss of a dear loved one, or in the face of evil and in the havoc that such evil ravages in peoples' lives. This kind of mourning reveals a tenderness to suffering, and requires a person to be vulnerable before others. These kinds of people are attractive, because they allow you a certain freedom in also being vulnerable--without judgment.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice. These are the people who hold to a high standard of morality, whose principles are of a supreme quality. In the face of sin, injustice, crime and wickedness, they strive always to uphold the truth, justice, and righteousness. They do not seek vengeance, but righteousness. These are not the people who say, "I respect your truth", and then go on their merry way, meanwhile people are suffering because of moral relativism. They stand firm in the certainty of what is good, and pursue it with all their energy. This is beautiful, and you can be certain that, in times of necessity, they will not abandon you, but will fight for you.

Blessed are the clean of heart. Purity of heart is to be able to look at another person and see only the beauty of their personhood. They are creatures of the Almighty God, created in His very image and likeness. To look upon them is to catch a glimpse of the eternal Creator. They are not objects to be used for lecherous self-satisfaction. They are subjects to be loved and cherished for their own sakes. People who have such cleanness of heart draw others to them naturally, for they know they will not be used.

Blessed are the peacemakers. We all seek peace. We understand that conflict is sometimes necessary, when no other option suffices. However, the peacemaker seeks peace first, in all circumstances, and only resorts to conflict as a final means. But for the peacemaker, conflict can only ever be a final means--for the sake of peace. Peacemakers are attractive because they work to bring about that which we all seek by nature, peace in our lives, both internally and externally, and even if you are tormented inwardly, a peacemaker can allow your outward world to be peaceful enough to exorcise the conflict within.

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake. If you are principled enough to suffer for what you believe is right and good, people will be drawn to you. Why? Because when push comes to shove, they known you will stand firm for a cause that is for their good. Even if you're not doing it for them, the fact that your principles are beneficial to them is enough.

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake. For very similar reasons as the last beatitude, but in a stronger sense, people will be drawn to you if you are willing to suffer for the sake of another person. There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for a friend. That's a beautiful thing.

So be beautiful. Be the salt of the earth in the lives of your friends and families. Make your life beautiful by practicing the beatitudes. Don't live lives of mediocrity. Don't be bland. Otherwise, you may find yourself cast out.

God bless, and thank you for reading!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Parables of Jesus: Introduction

Praised be Jesus Christ

Now and forever. Amen.

Hello dear readers. It has been a while since I last posted. If you're still visiting, I want to thank you. If you're new, welcome!

I've decided to do a series on the Parables of Jesus. There's a great deal that can be said on this topic. There are some great articles available online that discuss what, exactly, parables are, the way Jesus uses them to teach us, how many there are, the differences between the Gospels, etc.: here, for example.

In short, a parable is a story whereby one thing is compared to another. Between the various Christian denominations, there is no consensus regarding how many parables there are. That might seem funny, but the disagreement has to do with how Jesus' teachings are categorized--yes there are differences between metaphors, similes, parables, etc.

For the sake of completeness, I'm going to use the list given here. Now, I know that not all of the verses listed there are parables, but that's okay. I'm going to be using the term here in an imprecise manner to refer generally to any teaching that Jesus offers wherein he makes a comparison, story or otherwise.

Now, just in case the link I've provided for the list breaks sometime down the road, I'm just going to list the parables here. In the order that they appear in the Gospels:

You are the Salt of the Earth, Matthew 5:13
You are the Light of the world, Matthew 5:14-16
The Eye is the Lamp of the Body, Matthew 6:22-23
Serving God and Mammon, Matthew 6:24
Seeing the Speck in your Brothers Eye, Matthew 7:3-5
Pearls Thrown Before Swine, Matthew 7:6
The House upon Rock and the House upon Sand, Matthew 7:24-27
Children Chanting in the Markets, Matthew 11:16-19
The Tree and its Fruit, Matthew 12:33
Return of the Unclean Spirit, Matthew 12:43-45
Tares Sown Among the Wheat, Matthew 13:24-30
The Hidden Treasure, Matthew 13:44
The Pearl of Great Price, Matthew 13:45-46
The Dragnet , Matthew 13:47-48
The Conversion of a Scribe, Matthew 13:52
The Unmerciful Servant, Matthew 18:23-35
The Laborers in the Vineyard, Matthew 20:1-16
The Two Sons Asked to Work, Matthew 21:28-31
The Body and the Vultures, Matthew 24:28
The Sleeping Householder and the Thief, Matthew 24:33
The Wise and Foolish Virgins, Matthew 25:1-2
The Talents, Matthew 25:14-30
New Cloth on Old Garments, Mark 2:21
New Wine and Old Wineskins, Mark 2:22
The Sower and the Seeds, Mark 4:3-8 
The Mustard Seed, Mark 4:31-32
The Wicked Tenants, Mark 12:1-9
The Fig Tree, Mark 13:28
The Blind Leading the Blind, Luke 6:39
The Two Debtors, Luke 7:41-43
The Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-36
The Friend at Midnight, Luke 11:5-8
The Rich Fool, Luke 12:16-21
The Barren Fig Tree, Luke 13:6-9
The Seats of Honor, Luke 14:8-11
Invite the Poor, Not the Rich, Luke 14:12-14
The Guests Who Refused the Banquet, Luke 14:16-24
Building a Tower, Luke 14:28-30
The King Goes to War, Luke 14:31-33
The Lost Sheep, Luke 15:4-7
The Lost Coin, Luke 15:8-10
The Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32
The Unjust Steward, Luke 16:1-8
The Rich man and the Beggar Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31
The Ten Lepers, Luke 17:11-19
The Unjust Judge and the Pleading Widow, Luke 18:2-5
The Pharisee and the Publican, Luke 10:10-14
The Good Shepherd, John 10:1-21
The True Vine, John 15:1-17

Now, I'm not going to offer a reflection on one in this post. I'll do that in my next one. This was really just a heads-up that I'd be doing this. I'm looking forward to it! I hope you enjoy these reflections as much as I do (or hope to)!

God bless, and thank you for reading!