The Gospel according to Matthew (13:47-53)
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.
A favorite saying, among guys in particular is, you sure clean up nice. This will surely come up at a wedding or some other special occasion. Has anyone ever asked you are you ready to go and meet your maker? Is anyone ever really ready?? The reason I bring up these comments is I do not like to dwell on the negative. I choose to consider and enjoy the positive. And, yes, we all know that you cannot have one without the other. But I believe, as God assures us, that our Creator is as kind, compassionate, and merciful as He is just.
Today’s gospel and the discussion of separating the good from bad gives most of us the heebee geebees. Just previous to the fish analogy Jesus talks about the wheat and the chaff. So, we have two examples of how we will be separated, the good go to heaven and the bad to the other place. But here is where I believe our faith and trust in God should lead us. God knows we will never be completely ready to face our judgement day. That is why he sent his only son to defeat sin once and for all. Then there is purgatory. A place where we can atone for those things that we were not able to purge while we were still on earth.
Why should we fear a just but loving God who wants no more than the love of his children? We can never earn our way to heaven, but we can work and strive to be holy. Yes, it is a struggle every day to walk the narrow path. But we never walk it alone. We have legions of allies that exist on both sides of heaven. We have a means to maintain a close connection to our Father. We have the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and countless other opportunities to be in His presence. Then when people say, “you sure clean up nice” we can respond, “yup, and one day when I go home to the Father I hope to hear Him say, you cleaned up nice, you are ready now. Welcome home good and faithful servant.”
Action of the Day:
Dwell on and enjoy the good things in your life. Continue to work on what you can and leave the rest to God. Heaven is a gift. With that incredible awareness, help someone else see the bright side through your presence. God is good ALL the time.