Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable.” Stop for a moment and ask yourself what was your honest reaction and your first impression on hearing the words “hear another parable.” Did you miss it and drive right by? Or did you suddenly draw all your attention to the moment in anticipation of what will come next in hopes you wouldn’t miss it? Did the sacred text stop you in your tracks with the words “Jesus said” and move you to long to hear a word or a phrase from Jesus that might speak to you, might be an answer to a prayer or may pertain to something you are experiencing at work, home or school? Were you longing to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd speak directly to your heart and address a current situation or share a loving thought or provide some word of encouragement? Or was your first reaction, “I heard this one before.” Sought of like a book or a movie or a familiar experience that we discount and say, “l saw it before, l know how it ends – l heard all before, you can’t tell me what l already know.” At the words of Jesus, do we shut down, stop listening, close our hearts, move on to something else – something new – something better? What could be better in a busy schedule or a fast-paced day or a hectic moment than to stop for a second and enter into a conversation with God and hear a word of comfort or share a moment of peace? The Parables are meant for us to stop; to listen attentively and ask ourselves, “what is Jesus saying to us – what is Jesus saying to me?” We are invited to listen carefully to what our loving Savior is saying, to consider the messages he is sharing, to receive the grace he is giving. If we allow God’s Word like Mary to take root in our lives, it will be firmly planted in us, take hold of us and cause us to bear fruit, good fruit that is most pleasing to our Father. Let us open our ears, hearts and minds to the possibility of Jesus speaking to us. His words are alive, his words give life; they penetrate our being and fill us with light, love and life. Listen then to each parable and to all scared scripture as if it was the first time knowing that Christ is speak directly to you.