Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
Ps 84:2-6a, 8a, 11
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
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.
Good News Reflection:
After listening to what Jesus says in our Gospel reading today, consider what you’re collecting in your net. When your life on earth has reached its end and Jesus comes to take you home, what will be in your net? What will you try to drag into heaven? What will the angels have to sort through to yank out and help you get rid of in “the fiery furnace”? (Now there’s a picture of purgatory!)
And what will the angels show to God and say in great delight, “Hey, look at this! Awesome! Really cool!”
Whatever we collect that does not belong to the kingdom of God is worthless. It won’t give us heaven on earth and it won’t get us into heaven later. In fact, it’s a handicap that will lengthen our purging process in purgatory. We might see value in it now, but that’s only an illusion. The value we’ve assigned to it does not exist in real life — “real life” is the eternal life that we have with God.
I think my computer is valuable because I’m using it to share my insights with you, but I can’t take it to heaven. I can’t even keep it working well here on earth! Therefore, it’s worthless in real life and a burden. What is valuable, however, is how I choose to use it as a tool for the kingdom of God. Although my words can disappear off the monitor with a click of the delete button (or the unexpected meltdown of the hard drive), the words you receive from me as inspirations of the Holy Spirit will last forever.
The gifts that God gave me that enable me to share these inspirations, and the partnership I have with the Holy Spirit who uses them to bless you and heal you and challenge you, and the ability to convey these words with compassion so that the challenges don’t drive you away, and the gift of being able to pay for the equipment and Internet services that deliver them to you — these are the truly valuable treasures that have been caught in my net.
I can choose to use my net to capture things that have no lasting value. I could write fluff that is nice to your ears but does nothing to help you travel farther on your journey of holiness. I could use my writing talents for immoral trash or stories that glamorize violence and horror. But why should I do any of that? It’s meaningless. It’s a waste of my short time on earth!
What are you collecting? What’s in your net that the angels will have to hurl when Jesus takes you to heaven? Will you be wrestling the angels for it? You can get rid of the bad fish now! Utilize the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that sacred gift that helps us make room for the awesome stuff of God, the valuable treasures that we can use in his kingdom today and will be ours to enjoy forever.
My Lord: Help me to have, deep inside my heart, a life surrendered to You. Purify me of whatever is evil in me, and with the treasure of Your kingdom, may I be able to take souls to You. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica