Intriguing & thought-provoking

“Understanding” … much like an onion has many layers

I AM Catholic: by Patrick Miron

Matthew 11:15: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Can you recall the first time you heard these words of Christ? I first recall hearing them while I was still in high school. Even now, after all of these 50+ years, they still give me pause for reflection.

Mark 4:9 “And he said: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Certainly this is not meant literally; as everyone “has ears,“ therefore it must be allegorical or metaphorical. … Actually it’s both. It’s a short moral lesson and it is also a teaching [teaching] something besides what it say’s. The message here is that God gave man two ears and only one mouth, so that we are enabled to hear more than we say. But then it goes even further and poses the question; “is hearing” the same as “understanding what is heard?” Obviously it is not necessarily so.

Luke 8:8 “And other some fell upon good ground; and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, he cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

What is interesting here is two things: First the delineation that some both heard and understood; while many seemed to differing degrees, not too. Second in the enormous effectiveness of the minority who did both “hear” and “understood” the teaching. It provides the teaching that god rewards exceedingly, those who hear, understand, accept and obey His Teachings.

John 8:43 “Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my word“.

This must be an important lesson for humanity to hear AND to understand, as it is so often spoken about, and addressed by all FOUR Gospel authors. And here, Paul, a fifth author of the bible gets into the same message; or is it? Rom.10: 17 “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.“ And of course even Saint Peter adds to the discussion. So now we have six bibles authors teaching it.

2nd. Peter 1: 16-21 “You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

An ongoing point of wonderment for me personally, is the seemingly apparent lack of seeing even the very obvious, for all those who hear, and are thus afforded an opportunity for grace, but then still fail to comprehend the intended message correctly or fully. This is most often caused by listening to men’s views and opinions; rather than God’s teaching; which always involves the issues of man’s pride and self-will.

This cautionary note by the hand-selected Successor to our Perfect God, Saint Peter, the holder of “the only key’s to heavens access,” [Mt. 16:15-19] seems to have very little traction within the numerous Protestant faiths. Who not only disagree [as there very existence depends upon them doing,] with the Catholic Church, but also with each other. Because they hear, but fail to grasp, or choose to reject truth, which is always singular.

2nd. Peter 3: 14-17 “Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability”

So my friends, is the fundamental problem; not preaching and teaching? Or is it Not “hearing”? Or might it be not hearing but lacking right “understanding” of what is being shared? Or some combination of these? Let’s peal off a layer or two and see what we uncover.

Matthew 13:13 “Therefore do I [Our Good and Perfect; unerring God] speak to them in parables: because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand”

Matthew 13: 1-13 “The same day Jesus going out of the house, sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered unto him, so that he went up into a boat and sat: and all the multitude stood on the shore. And he spoke to them many things in parables, saying: Behold the sower went forth to sow. And whilst he soweth some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and ate them up. And other some fell upon stony ground, where they had not much earth: and they sprung up immediately, because they had no deepness of earth. And when the sun was up they were scorched: and because they had not root, they withered away. And others fell among thorns: and the thorns grew up and choked them. And others fell upon good ground: and they brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The core teaching here refers to God’s OFFERED Grace, and man’s optional ways of responding to God‘s generosity. Archbishop Fulton Sheens explanation from his book: THE LIFE OF CHRIST”; explains this phenomenon is this manner:

cf. The same “sun” [Son/Christ]] shines at the same time [offers grace to] a candle and clay: [the hearing and unhearing] melting the first, while at the same time hardening the second. [Granting His understanding or withholding His understanding; as the subject itself warrants.] So while God is the “cause”; the subject itself remains the essential- reason.

And his disciples came and said to him: Why speakest thou to them in parables?

Even Peter and the other Apostles struggled with this aspect of God and His Just-Mercy. He explained to them as was necessary [as those already having {possessing} more], but did not do the same for the multitudes. This was both because they [ the Apostles were granted a higher degree of Grace and Understanding , and thus were enabled to “hear and understand” as they were chosen to be Teachers of His singular truths. [Mk. 16:14-15 & Mt. 28:16-20.]

Who answered and said to them: Because to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: but to them it is not given. For he that hath, to him shall be given, [more] and he shall abound: but he that hath not, from him shall [what little they have] be taken away that also which he hath. Therefore do I speak to them in parables: …

because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

I highlighted this because it’s meaning is to be understood as an “obstinate denial, and a freely chosen unbelief“, not simply a “doubt.” They could have and should have understood and believed [John chapter- six is an excellent example of this: The BREAD of LIFE Discourse] but their pride and egos blocked God’s truth from their ability to understand. Once again God is the “cause”; but they themselves are the reason.

And the prophecy of Isaias is fulfilled in them, [Isaiah 6:10] who saith: By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand: and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive. For the heart of this people is grown gross, and with their ears they have been dull of hearing, and their eyes they have shut: lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them”

I think the message here is those seeking reasons NOT to believe, are left by God, to there pride-filled whiles and wishes. Truth is singular and is to be sought through God’s grace.

Matthew 13:16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.”

Man is to recognize, and acknowledge God’s plentiful graces and give thanks for them

Matthew 13: 41-45 “The Son of man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the just shine as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Matthew 15:10 “And [Jesus] having called together the multitudes unto him, he said to them: Hear ye and understand.” [LISTEN TO ME! I AM God].

Matthew 13: 13-14 “Then came his disciples, and said to him: Dost thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized? But he answering them, said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.”

In another place Christ Teaches “by their FRUITS” you shall know them.

Matthew 7: 14-25 “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock, And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.”

Some out of God’s fold claim that God here is speaking of His Catholic Church. This is IMPOSSIBLE! WHY? Because He’s TEACHING His chosen Apostles this Lesson. And because in Mt. 16:15-19; He Promises that the Gate of hell will not [CANNOT] prevail.

Like God teaches here: those that are enabled to hear [meaning TO UNDERSTAND]; will and do so. Those following man-made religions, must first turn towards God , with humility in-order to be granted HIS singular, and critically important understanding.

Mark 4: 11-14 “And he said to them: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but to them that are without, all things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand: lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he saith to them: Are you ignorant of this parable? and how shall you know all parables? He that soweth, soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown, and as soon as they have heard, immediately Satan cometh and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.”

Luke 8:13 “Now they upon the rock, [rocky soil] are they who when they hear, receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; for they believe for a while, and [then] in time of temptation, they fall away.”

Luke 8:18 “Take heed therefore how you hear. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given: [MORE] and whosoever hath not, that also which he thinketh he hath, shall be taken away from him.” … Grace upon grace: John 1: 16-17 “And of his fulness we all have received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”

John 8:47 “He that is of God, [MEANING HERE: One God, with His Only possible, One set of faith-beliefs in His only One founded catholic church] heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not [truly following His singular-truth and His One Church] of God.”

John 10:16 “And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.”

What does Christ mean? “Cannot hear?”

Do you dear friend; have ears capable of hearing God’s singular truths? If you do: GIVE THANKS! If you do not; TURN to God in humility and pray for his right understanding.

Psalms 6:5 “Turn to me, O Lord, and deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercy’ s sake”

Mark 1:15 “And saying: The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel“.

LORD, please grant us your Understanding.

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