Given my last article on The Effective Sermon, I paid special attention to the readings and the sermons at Sunday’s mass. True to form the sermon was on the gospel. The priest went over St. Matthew’s story of Jesus preaching from a boat on the water to the masses on shore utilizing the parable of the farmer whose seeds fell on different ground with only the seeds falling on fertile ground prospering.
The disciples ask Jesus why he utilized parables. Jesus answers that he utilizes parables because those attending look without seeing and hear without listening or understanding. There seems to be two levels to this statement. The first is that the parable is the best shot at having his message stick both with the masses and the disciples. The second is that even given his best shot there will be many who will either not hear and understand, or who will hear and understand but will not persevere.
The point is that a story and a parable that brings the message to life with vivid images that are relevant to the audience is the best shot at having the message stick. Weekly sermon’s need to keep this great message by Jesus, the great persuader, always in mind.