Dragnets of Christ

Mathew 13: 47-53
Jer 18: 1-6 / Ps 146: 1-6

The kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that is cast in the sea and brings in a haul of all kinds of fish.
(Matthew 13:47)

Help us not to fear, Lord Jesus
If we must lead a life of pain,
In working to spread Your Good News
We have hope of eternal gain.

Jesus said to the people: ‘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. (Matthew 13:47-53)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel passage is found only in the Gospel of Matthew. It has no parallel in any of the other three Gospels. It relates the last lesson that our Lord taught in this chapter 13 of St. Matthew’s account, which started with the Parable of the Sower. It was as if Jesus started His ‘lecture’ with planting, and ended it with a ‘harvesting’: “This is how it will be at the end of the age, like a dragnet thrown into the sea, when the angels come to separate the evil from the righteous, and cast the wicked into the fiery furnace.” Jesus used this illustration of a fishing equipment for the benefit of His listeners, most of whom were probably fishermen living along the coast of the Lake of Galilee . A dragnet is similar to what trawl fishermen use, which is conical in shape, and dragged by a boat. It catches all kinds of fish along its path, including flotsam, seaweeds, etc. God’s kingdom, represented by the Church is like a dragnet, open to all regardless of persuasion or moral condition. It does not discriminate. It gives everyone a chance to believe, repent and be converted.

Christian renewal communities are the modern “dragnets” of the Church. The pioneering works of the saints throughout the history of the Church has inspired many Charismatic organizations to get involved in this work of evangelization.

Every “scribe” chosen by the Lord must reflect on both the old teachings in the Bible and the new teachings of Jesus in order to share them with other people, most especially those who do not believe in the afterlife. Having been ‘caught’ in the net of God’s kingdom, we must become His nets in turn, striving to ensnare other souls with His Word. Through regular formation activities in our brotherhood, we have come to realize that it is not enough to be model fathers to our children and good husbands to our wives; we must also strive to become diligent shepherds to our community of believers, and more especially to non-believers as well. Now that we have been ‘awakened’ by the Gospel truths handed down by our Lord to His first priests (the apostles), we also bear the responsibility of handing them down to others by way of modeling His values in our lives and proclaiming them to those who care to listen. As St. Peter said, quoting old Scripture, we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His own, so that you may announce the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

As You have renewed our lives in the Spirit, Lord, so employ us to bring Your light to others, so that their lives may also be renewed. Amen.

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