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Catholic Dictionary




A short story based on a familiar life experience used to teach a spiritual lesson. It resembles the fable and the allegory. Jesus used the parable many times in his public ministry. "Why do you teach them in parables?" his disciples asked him. "Because," he replied, "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them" (Matthew 13:10-11). It was a means of teaching his doctrine especially to those who accepted him as Messiah. (Etym. Greek parabol_, comparison, parable; literally, a throwing beside, juxtaposition.)


In Matthew:

The children who play Matthew 11:16-19

The sower Matthew 13:3-8

The tares Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Mustard seed Matthew 13:31, 32

The leaven Matthew 13:33

Hidden treasure Matthew 13:44

Pearl of great price Matthew 13:44, 45

Dragnet Matthew 13:47, 48

The lost sheep Matthew 18:12-14

Unmerciful servant Matthew 18:23-35

Laborers in the vineyard Matthew 20:1-6

Prodigal Son Matthew 21:28-32

The wicked husbandman Matthew 21:33-44

Great Supper Matthew 21:1-14

Marriage feast Matthew 22:1-14

The ten virgins Matthew 25:1-13

The pounds Matthew 25:14-30

In Mark:

The sower Mark 4:3-8

Seed growing secretly Mark 4:26-29

Mustard seed Mark 4:30-32

The wicked husbandman Mark 12:1-11

In Luke:

The children who play Luke 7:31, 35

The two debtors Luke 7:41-43

The sower Luke 8:5-8

Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37

Importunate friend Luke 11:5-8

Rich fool Luke 12:16-21

Barren fig tree Luke 13:6-9

Mustard seed Luke 13:18, 19

The leaven Luke 13:20, 21

Great supper Luke 14:16-24

Marriage feast Luke 14:16-24

The last place at banquet Luke 14:7-11

The tower and war Luke 14:28-32

The lost sheep Luke 15:4-7

Lost silver piece Luke 15:8-10

Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32

The unjust steward Luke 16:1-8

Dives, the rich man, and Lazarus Luke 16:19-31

The unjust judge Luke 18:1-8

Pharisee and publican Luke 18:9-14

The pounds Luke 19:12-27

The wicked husbandman Luke 20:9-18