One Easter, I bought a children’s book of the New Testament parables to read aloud to the kids. All went well until they started asking questions. Well, really, one question. After each parable they’d say, “What does that mean?”
I wasn’t sure what they meant. Some of the stories were very odd. I searched for an answer key at the back of the book. There wasn’t one.
I kept thinking: It would be really great if a priest came with this book. Or Jesus.
It was embarrassing that the meaning of a children’s book was completely eluding me.
After researching them a little, I was relieved to find out that many people find the parables quite vexing. Even the apostles had a hard time understanding some of them and they were hearing them straight from Jesus and were living in the historical context.
I decided to undertake this little writing project to help me learn a little more about them so I can answer my kids’ questions. And just in case anyone else is completely lost when reading these things, I thought I’d post some of my findings and modern re-interpretations.
I’d like to live in a world where less parents are embarrassed by children’s books.
P.S. My sourcing for this project was from a couple of places. The Ignatius study bibles (I highly recommend!), Dr. John Bergsma’s Bible for Catholics books (I highly recommend!) and Bishop Barron’s homilies and articles over at Word on Fire (I highly recommend!)
P.P.S. I swear I didn’t mean to copy Dr. Bergsma’s use of stick figures. I just used them for simplicity and then remembered he used them. His stick figures are much better, by the way.