In today’s gospel, the disciples are again perplexed by the parables of Jesus. The divine teaching that Jesus reveals about the kingdom of heaven eludes their comprehension. Understandably, thus, the disciples approach Jesus and say: “explain to us the parable.” This is a correct move. We should go to Jesus for the answers anytime we are confused or baffled by something that God teaches through Scripture or Tradition.
Jesus then proceeds to expound the parable to the disciples. And he concludes with this holy exhortation: “Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
The only one who is able to explain or unpack the meaning of divine truth is Divine Truth Himself. Jesus. God is the only one who can exposit with authority what God means when he teaches.
This is a very important point for Christians to remember. Today, many people try to understand God’s divine teaching—summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church—through the ideas of figures who reject God’s teaching. This is a fool’s errand. Why? We cannot expect to learn the truth about God (and about God’s teaching) from those who reject God (and what God teaches).
In other words, the only way to understand the saving mysteries that Jesus reveals is by turning to Jesus himself. Only Jesus can explain what Jesus means.
But how do we receive the explanations of Jesus? Our Lord does not appear to us visibly when we have a spiritual question. Nor does he offer classes in which we can enroll. So how can we receive the teachings of Jesus?
The answer to this question is simple: we come to an understanding of Christ’s holy teaching through his bride, the Church. Because the Catholic Church is inextricably united to Our Lord, she always safeguards the holy teaching that he entrusted to her. Consequently, she can never err about the teaching of Jesus. Why is this? Because the Church does not teach anything by her own authority. Nothing that the Church authoritatively teaches comes from the Church herself, independent of Jesus. Her teaching authority is nothing less than a share in Christ’s own teaching and authority.
How do we know that Jesus has fully entrusted his teaching to the Church? The answer to this is clear: we know that Jesus has entrusted his teaching to the Church because Jesus has entrusted himself to the Church. Within the mass, Jesus himself is fully present on the holy altar of sacrifice. Wherever Jesus is, there lies his teaching and his authority. And because Jesus is fully present and active in his bride the Church, so is his teaching authority fully present and active in the Church.
Whoever has ears ought to hear. If we want to understand what Jesus teaches, we must turn to Our Lord. And the only place in which Our Lord can be truly found is the Church. Jesus has entrusted everything to his Bride: his teaching, his authority, and his very self—for us men and for our salvation.