"Have you understood all this?" —Matthew 13:51
Jesus asked His apostles if they had understood "all this." They answered "Yes," possibly assuming that Jesus was referring to the last parable or series of parables He had taught (Mt 13:51). Jesus, however, was probably referring to much more, for He next spoke of those learned in His kingdom as having a "storeroom" of knowledge (Mt 13:52).
Actually, the apostles did not understand "all this" (see Jn 16:29). "On the contrary, their minds were completely closed to the meaning" of many events in Jesus' life (Mk 6:52). So exasperated was Jesus with His followers that He questioned them: "Are your minds completely blinded? Have you eyes but no sight? Ears but no hearing?...Do you still not understand?" (Mk 8:17-18, 21) During the last supper, the apostles felt they did understand what Jesus was saying (Jn 16:29-30). However, Jesus immediately questioned this (Jn 16:31). A few hours later, the apostles proved that they really did not understand Jesus when they abandoned Him upon His arrest (Mk 14:50).
Do you understand Jesus? Will you at least admit your lack of understanding? This is the necessary first step toward understanding. On Judgment Day, will the Lord say to you: "This is not an understanding people; therefore their Maker shall not spare them, nor shall He Who formed them have mercy on them" (Is 27:11)? Or will He say: "Blest are your eyes because they see and blest are your ears because they hear" (Mt 13:16)? "Have you understood all this?" (Mt 13:51)
Prayer: Father, may I understand what You mean by "understanding."
Promise: "Rise up, be off to the potter's house; there I will give you My message." —Jer 18:2
Praise: Alphonsus, a lawyer, didn't understand why he lost a lawsuit. Then he realized God was calling him to the priesthood, and ministered as a priest for sixty years.
Reference: (For more, order our leaflet, Clarity, Certainty, and Commitment.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, January 29, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 5, 1996