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Dear father Angelo,

Thank you for this opportunity!

I would like you to shed some light on this issue… Why did Jesus speak in a way which wasn’t comprehensible to everybody and sometimes not even to His Apostles?

In those days not everyone was educated, and a lot of people couldn’t understand the words of Jesus… Were they left with their doubts?

Today we can appeal to enlightened people like yourself, or buy a commentary on the Gospel… but what was the option by then?

I thank you in advance, God bless you.

Ave Maria


Dear Mario,

1. Actually, the Gospel says that Jesus spoke with clarity. 

This is why he spoke through parables.

Parables are similitudes drawn from the events of life or reality.

The example presented in the parable was easy to understand.

However, its meaning wasn’t always as clear.

2. In fact, here’s what can be read: «All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world”.» (Matthew 13, 34-35).

3. Saint Thomas says: «There are two reasons why he spoke to the crowds in parables: because in the crowds there were mixed together some who believed and some who did not believe, likewise some well disposed and some ill disposed: he spoke this way because of the ill disposed and those who did not believe, that they might not understand, as was said above, seeing, they see not; and because of those who believed, that they might better grasp and better retain it» (Saint Thomas, Commentary on Matthew’s Gospel 13, 34-35). 

4.  Whenever the disciples didn’t understand the meaning of a parable, they usually told Jesus, as it can be read in the remainder of Matthew 13, 34-35: «Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field”. He said in reply…» (Matthew 13, 34-36).

Jesus kept no secret. One simply had to pose a question to immediately get the answer.

5.  We may wonder why did the Lord speak through parables if there were people who couldn’t understand them. Here’s what the Gospel says: «The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”

He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.

To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand’ “.» (Matthew 13, 10-13).

6. Why doesn’t the Lord want some people to understand?

The motivation is brought by the Lord Himself: «Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them» (Matthew 13, 15).

Therefore there isn’t a defect in the speaker but in the listeners, as it happens with deaf people.

7.  Commenting on the words used by the guards that came back to the Pharisees without having arrested Jesus: “Never before has anyone spoken like this one” (John 7,46), Saint Thomas said that «his words had the power to affect people. “Are not my words like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer breaking a rock?”(Jer 23:29). And so Matthew says: “he was teaching them as one who had authority” (Matt 7:29). And his words were sweet to contemplate: “let your voice sound in my ears, for your voice is sweet” (Song 2:14); “how sweet are your words to my tongue!” (Ps 118:103). And his words were useful to keep in mind, because they promised eternal life: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:69); “I am the Lord, who teaches you things that are useful” (Isa 48:17)» (Commentary on John’s Gospel, 7, 46).

8. It is questionable whether this is also true regarding the words of Jesus  in John’s Gospel.

Here we must remember that, according to the tradition, this Gospel was written in later times to complete what wasn’t already present in the earlier Gospels (the Synoptics) and to refute some heresies that were meandering at that time.

John wrote for Christians who were adults in the faith. Therefore it can be explained how his language is more dogmatic than in the other Gospels.

I wish you every good, bless you and assure you of my remembrance to the Lord.

Father Angelo