This past week I’ve rediscovered one of Jesus’ parables that I often read with impoverished farmers in Honduras. Reading Matthew 13 with inmates and at Tierra Nueva has proved fruitful, and deeply encouraged me as I’ve heard good news echoing back.
I start out sharing with a jail-room full of mostly construction workers, mechanics, welders, electricians and farm workers how Jesus was working class, the son of a carpenter, a man whose hands were likely calloused. According to the Gospel accounts he mostly hung out with ordinary people, frequenting normal, non-religious place: roads, sea, mountains, villages and homes. I invite someone to read Matthew 13:1-2:
“On that day Jesus went out of the house, and was sitting by the sea. And great crowds gathered to him, so that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.” I’ve seen how this kind of beginning helps people envision Jesus as closer, and opens them to hearing his teaching as possibly more relevant. Next, before reading the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:3-9.
I talk a bit about the basics of planting seeds.