Catechesis Notes for the Week— The Parables of Jesus (Summer Stories from the Gospel of St. Luke)—This week’s readings from the Gospel of Luke focus upon seven miracles of Jesus. “Parables are figurative stories that teach the mysteries and paradoxes of the Christian faith…The mysteries of the Christian faith can be understood and believed only by Christians. Natural man cannot accept and believe in the mysteries of the Gospel because they are foolishness to him (1 Corinthians 2:14-15).… Most often, God is the chief actor in the parables. Parables teach how God operates differently from how sinful man operates.… Parables proclaim that faith and salvation is solely a gift of God’s grace in Christ. Parables invite catechumens to explore more deeply the mysteries of God’s grace and salvation to them in Christ. Parables always teach reliance upon Christ and never teach reliance upon self.” (Excerpted from New Testament Catechesis) The Mustard Seed teaches us that “Christ, planted in this world by the preaching of the Gospel, looks to be the most insignificant word in all the earth, yet He produces a mighty congregation of believers among whom the Holy Spirit dwells to give the shelter of His forgiveness and salvation to all who enter her.”
The Leaven teaches us that “the Gosple spreads throughout the world and produces faith.” The Great Supper teaches us that “the call of the Gospel to receive salvation in Christ is like an invitation which is rejected because people have ‘more important things to do.’ Those who are helpless and needy receive the invitation and believe the Gospel. Those who believe they have no need reject the invitation and are excluded from salvation.” The Lost Sheep teaches us that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save the lost sinner who was not worth saving. Jesus’ passion to save the single lost soul is illustrated in this parable in which a man does the unthinkable: He leaves the many to rescue the one. This work delights the Lord and all of heaven.” The Lost Coin follows the theme of the Lost Sheep and teaches us that “Jesus’ desire to save the lost sinner is like a woman who is possessed with an obsessive desire to find something she has lost, and not to rest until she does. The Lord and His angels have no greater joy than the salvation of a sinner.” The Prodical Son is the third parable in this sequence and “teaches us about God, whose grace toward the fallen seems irresponsible and wasteful, and that all Christians live by the grace of God alone without any merit or worthiness in them.” Very simply, this parable teaches us that “The love of God in Christ calls prodigal Christians back to their baptism.” Finally, in the Unjust Steward “the Lord Jesus is compared to an unethical man who alters the accounts of his master’s creditors, so that their debt is reduced and he is received by them into their home when the master casts him out. In the Lord’s atonement for sin, He took the debt that we were responsible for paying and canceled it, so that we might receive Him for our eternal good. The axiom is true: it is beneficial to show mercy. This parable teaches that the unbeliever is often quicker than the believer to understand the potential benefits of showing mercy to others with one’s material goods. Jesus commends this understanding.” (Excerpts from New Testament Catechesis in the Lutheran Catechesis Series).