THURSDAY, 3RD WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME
Mk 4:21–25: THE PARABLES OF THE LAMP AND THE MEASURE
Jesus said to his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” He also told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
- A “bushel” was a container used for measuring cereals and vegetables. It held a little over eight litres (two gallons).
- This parable contains a double teaching.
- Firstly, it says that Christ’s doctrine should not be kept hidden; rather, it must be preached throughout the whole world. We find the same idea elsewhere in the Gospels: “what you hear whispered, proclaim it upon the house-tops” (Mt 10:27); “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole of creation . . .“ (Mk 16:15).
- The other teaching is that the Kingdom which Christ proclaims has such ability to penetrate all hearts that, at the end of time, when Jesus comes again, not a single human action, in favour or against Christ, will not become public and manifest. Cf. Mt 25:31-46.
- Our Lord never gets tired of asking the Apostles, the seed which will produce the Church, to listen carefully to the teaching he is giving: they are receiving a treasure for which they will be held to account. “To him who has will more be given…”: he who responds to grace will be given more grace and will yield more and more fruit; but he who does not will become more and more impoverished (cf. Mt 25:14-30).
- Therefore, there is no limit to the development of the theological virtues: “If you say ‘Enough,’ you are already dead” (St Augustine, Sermon 51).
- A soul who wants to make progress in the interior life will pray along these lines: “Lord, may I have due measure in everything, except in Love” (St. Josemaria Escrivá, The Way, 427).