Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 13, 47-53

'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that is cast in the sea and brings in a haul of all kinds of fish.

When it is full, the fishermen bring it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in baskets and throw away those that are no use.

This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the upright,

to throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

'Have you understood all these?' They said, 'Yes.'

And he said to them, 'Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom new things as well as old.'

When Jesus had finished these parables he left the district;


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus continues teaching through parables that very soon the love of God will reign over human life and will defeat the violence of evil. Though God’s reign springs from God’s initiative it cannot happen without human participation. In this parable, Jesus uses the image of a fishing net which is usually very broad and semi-circular. It is thrown into the sea and then hauled ashore. This net, Jesus says, collects a lot of fish. Jesus wants to underline that the kingdom of heaven is large and is for all men and women, without any distinction. The fishermen haul it ashore only when it is full. In this detail the generosity and extent of Jesus’ love is again stressed. In the parable of the sower, as well, the seed is thrown everywhere, without selecting the soil. How different from our mean, self-centred, lazy and stingy measures! The kingdom of heaven aims at collecting everyone! The great heart of the Lord invites us too, at the beginning of this new millennium, not to be stingy when we throw the net, and faithfully try to communicate the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Then Jesus says that, as soon as the net is full of fish, it is hauled ashore where the selection and judgment take place: the righteous are separated from the wicked. This picture recalls the parable of the weeds, but it highlights the time of the final judgment, when the separation will take place. It will be the same for the sheep and the goats, as Matthew tells about the final judgment; there we will be judged according to how we have loved. The righteous are those who have loved. The very distinction made between the righteous and the wicked depends on the care for their neighbours. We have often considered ourselves to be the only judges in our lives. The Lord’s judgment is based on love and it should help us not to loose the greater love of our life. Finally, Jesus asks his disciples if they understood; he wants his saving words to reach the depth of their hearts. So, Jesus tells his disciples that if they understand the meaning of the kingdom of heaven, they will become scribes of the new Law. They will gain the wisdom of the Gospel, but they will be also able to value “old things” that is what comes from human wisdom.