As you can imagine, there is a huge amount of material from which to choose in Augustine's works to illustrate his approaches to parable interpretation. Along with variety of people, however, I am also striving to include a variety of the types of materials. For that reason, I decided to focus extensively (in the section devoted to Augustine) on his homilies/sermons. These examples also help illustrate Augustine's stress upon the "love of God and love of neighbor" in biblical interpretation (see the previous post).
Augustine often connects physical and spiritual aspects in his interpretations. The Sheep and Goats parable, for example, means that giving to those in physical need results in God giving you the gift of eternal life; Sermon 36.5-6). But Augustine declares that love of God and neighbor must underlie those actions, or those actions are in vain. Similarly, the wedding garment in the parable of the Wedding Feast symbolizes that a garment of love/charity is required for salvation (40.4-9): “So then, have faith with love. This is the ‘wedding garment’” (cf. Sermon 43.5 where the oil in the lamps in the Ten Virgins parable symbolizes love/charity).
The next post will focus on Augustine's famous interpretation of the parable of the Good Samaritan, but it will also include some of his not-as-famous comments about it.