The Holy Gospel according to St. 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.
Reflection: The Gospel passages the Church proclaims these past days focus on the parables of Jesus. And the messages within those parables are about the “Four Last Things”: Heaven, Hell, death, and judgment. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is very direct about what will take place: “The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous.” It’s a sobering and frightening teaching, yet it highlights the importance of what Jesus offers us – God’s creation – the gift of salvation! Jesus emphasizes these truths, these Four Last Things because of our tendency is to forget them.
As I read through this Gospel, the question came to my mind – Am I one of the righteous ones? Or the wicked ones? My honest answer – I am both. And in God’s infinite mercy – He has given me – given His Church – the Sacrament of Reconciliation / Confession, where, with true sorry for my sins I can seek His forgiveness. Each day we need to examine where we are, we need to choose and move from wickedness to righteousness – and we do that with God’s help! What is old becomes new!
Action of the Day: St. Ignatius gave us a wonderful way to examine ourselves in the light of Christ – the “Examen”. How to Pray the Examen 1. Place yourself in God’s presence. Give thanks for God’s great love for you. 2. Pray for the grace to understand how God is acting in your life. 3. Review your day — recall specific moments and your feelings at the time. 4. Reflect on what you did, said, or thought in those instances. Were you drawing closer to God, or further away? 5. Look toward tomorrow — think of how you might collaborate more effectively with God’s plan. Be specific and conclude with the “Our Father.”