Daily Reflection – July 28, 2016
Thursday 28 July 2016
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:47-53
Today’s Note: Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to the disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
“Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old.”
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.
The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea. (Matthew 13:47)
If you’re not a fisherman, this simile can be hard to relate to. But “cast nets”—flat, weighted nets that are tossed into the sea—have been used since before the time of Jesus. Everyone who has used them will tell you that it’s impossible to keep unwanted fish out of them. The net catches everything, good and bad.
What an effective image Jesus uses to teach an important lesson about the Church! It tells us that the “net” of God’s kingdom reaches all types of “fish,” and it’s up to God to sort them out. It may not be clear while they’re all in the net which ones will be kept and which will be discarded, so we can’t be quick to label people.
Remember, you’re a fish, not the fisherman! Maybe that person who annoys you with their competitiveness will be raised up to fight for justice. Or the person whose arrogance grates against you will be healed of insecurity and end up serving the poor. Their stories aren’t over. And neither is yours. God’s not finished yet, and he always gives us the chance to grow, be healed, and changed.
So if you’re wondering what a “good fish” looks like, remember that there is not just one type. Consider the saints. They all had different callings and different personalities. They also had their rough edges. Remember how Jesus called James and John the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). Even Paul and Barnabas argued so much that they ended up separating (Acts 15:36-40). And yet they did great things for God despite their flaws.
We are all imperfect. So the more we can let go of past hurts or judgments against our brothers and sisters, the more we will see that Jesus loves everyone, even the “fish” that rub us the wrong way. Instead of focusing on our differences, we should work on developing the virtues and talents that God has given us and using them to build his kingdom. Then we’ll find it easier to honor all the other fish in our net. Remember, the one mark of Jesus’ disciples is that we love one another as he has loved us.
“Divine Fisherman, help me to grow in holiness. Teach me to love as you love.”