A parable is a narrative, an expressive form of preaching, and a method of communication, which recounts facts of everyday life with spiritual meaning. The teachings of Jesus are often expressed in parables, sometimes one-or two-sentence long stories, which leave the conclusions open. Each generation looks for new meanings in them, reading with their own sensitivity and culture, and can project their own themes onto the text. Parables teach, while often provoke too.
In the introduction to her book Short-Stories by Jesus - The Enigmatic Tales of a Controversial Rabbi] (HarperOne) Amy-Jill Levine writes, “The more I study the parables, the more I feel provoked by them. One does not have to believe in Jesus, Lord and Savior, to understand how many extraordinary things he had to say”.
A New Testament and Jewish Studies scholar, and a member of the editorial board of Women Church World, in this issue she is the author of the commentary on the Parable of the Pearl. Levine always urges us not to misrepresent Jesus’ Jewish context and, in her book, asks, “why, two thousand years later, do these topics not only continue to be important, but perhaps are more urgent than ever?”
In response, the June issue of Woman Church Word is dedicated to the Parables, and proposes personal reinterpretations alongside the reading of the Gospel text, through reflections, comments, stories, and works of art.
There are eight parables and eight texts written by eight women; seven of whom are members of the steering committee of Women Church World plus a German theologian. The authors differ in religion, religious confession, and professions. There are four Italians, one American, two Germans, and one Spanish, and each have filtered the reading of the parable according to her own experiences, sensitivity, convictions, skills, interests, and mission. These are personal itineraries. These are moments of reflection, in times of war and search for peace.
During these difficult months, Pope Francis has taken his cue from the parables on several occasions.
On the Sunday in which the Gospel in the Liturgy recounted that of the Prodigal Son, the Pontiff emphasized this, stating it “leads us to the heart of God, who always forgives with compassion and tenderness”. At the Angelus he pointed to “this cruel and senseless war which, like every war, represents a defeat for everyone, for all of us”.