The Principal Parables of Jesus

The Principal Parables of Jesus ~ Art by Fr. Donie

Parable (Heb. Mashal, “to set side by side.”  Gk. parabolé, “a placing beside, a comparison”, a short fictitious narrative based on a familiar experience and having an application to the spiritual life.  It was literally a “throwing alongside.”  The pithy old definition of a parable as “an earthly saying with a heavenly meaning” has much to recommend it.

The parable is to be distinguished form (a) the fable, a short story, not based on fact, in which animals and plants talk as if they were people:  characterized often by shrewdness, prudence, and sarcasm, rather than by noble moral quality; (b) the allegory, a symbolical narrative in which every detail has a figurative meaning, as in Pilgrim’s Progress; when effort is made to allegorize the parables of Jesus, i.e., to look for meaning in every detail, rather than to seek the one great truth conveyed by the story, the effectiveness of the intended revelation becomes confused and lost; (c) the myth, an invented legend or story concerning imaginary or superhuman beings.

1.       The Prodigal Son ~ Lk 15: 11-32
2.       The Ten Bridesmaids ~ Mt 25: 1-13
3.       The Net ~ Mt 13: 47-50
4.       The Talents ~ Mt 25:  14-30
5.       The Rich Man and Lazarus ~ Lk 16:  19-31
6.       The Widow and The Judge ~ Lk 18:  1-8
7.       The Unforgiving Servant ~ Mt 18: 21-35
8.       The Pharisee and the Tax Collector ~ Lk 18:  9-14
9.       The Sower ~ Mt 13:  3-9, 18-23
10.     The Good Samaritan ~ Lk 10:  29-37
11.      The Rich Fool ~ Lk 12:  16-21
12.      The Good Shepherd ~ Jn 10:  1-18

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Rhiannon Jensen