Good morning, happy Thursday, and many blessings.
Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:47-53), presents the last parable of the discourse on the parables, the story of the net thrown into the sea. This parable is found only in the Gospel of Matthew without any parallel in the other three Gospels.
This parable is very similar to the one about the wheat and the weeds. There are always those who wish for a Church which includes only good people, where the bad ones are left out. They do not realize that it will probably be an empty church, for God has chosen to be merciful and patient with us sinners, leaving the judgement to the end. Aren’t we all sinners, called by God to accept his mercy in our lives and that of others?
The image that Jesus uses of drawing the fishing net and separating the catch was one which many of his disciples would have been familiar with in their role as fishermen. Putting the good fish into baskets and dispensing with the bad was part of their everyday duty. So, Jesus was speaking to them in language which they could relate to when describing the kingdom of heaven.
Elements of good and bad are inherent in the human condition.
Life is constantly changing so are we, and so is the Church. Sometimes we have little patience with old ways and customs. But the storehouse of the kingdom contains many treasures. Whatever truly helps people to respond to God is good and not to be despised.
There's a mixture of good and bad in all of us. The church is a mixture of good and bad also. We simply pray to respond to goodness in our desires and in our activities and ask the forgiveness and help of Jesus where we fail. This is the reason why many parables show us that the kingdom of heaven involves both good and bad mixed together. I pray for the patience and tolerance that I need to live with those who differ from me.
In this dramatic story, Jesus is trying to jolt us into awareness that the decisions we make day by day are important. His overall concern is that we should always love one another: this is what shapes our eternal destiny. It won’t do to say, ‘I won’t bother helping this needy person’ or ‘I can get away with this: no one will ever know!’ We are meant always to be growing in love of others, rather than living for ourselves. That’s the drama of Christian life. Our joy at the end will be to see how we have helped others to become as God wants them to be.
I pray Lord that with your grace I may nurture the goodness in my life so that my ways may reflect your ways and I can contribute to the building of your kingdom of peace with justice, love and respect.