Mt 13:47-53 Like It Or Not
“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…What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age…Do you understand all these things?”
Do I understand these things? There is a heaven and there is a hell, and neither will disappear, regardless of my personal beliefs or feelings or philosophy or persuasions for or against God. It will not make a single bit of difference if I disagree with the Lord of Scripture or agree with the Lord of Warm Fuzziness.
I can claim intellectual atheism. I can shake my hands and plead agnosticism. But in the end, the Lord of Life will decide, once and for all, my fate, my destiny, my life.
I can say it is barbaric. I can argue until I am black and blue in the face, cold as ice and rigid as rigor mortis. But in the end, it will not be I who lives in me but Christ or nihil that lives in me.
A favorite pet, lying on the side of the road, is typically a dead pet. It is no longer. It is gone and it will not return to me regardless of if I wish it, demand it, will it or care for it. All I can do is live with it.
This is the brutal reality of life: it comes to an end. And then there is conclusion: judgment. It is what it is, like it or not.
Religion, opium for the people. To those suffering pain, humiliation, illness, and serfdom, it promised a reward in the afterlife. And now we are witnessing a transformation. New opium for the people is a belief in nothingness and death – the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice and murders we are not going to be judged.” (Czeslaw Milosz, taken from Roadside Dog)
The Lord does not often repeat himself. But in this past week, he has given us parable after parable about death, judgment and heaven and hell.
Will he be just? You bet! Will he show mercy? Yes. How do we know? Because we know how these parables end – in real life! They end with Christ instructing his disciples to be fishers of men, all men - the good and the bad. They just need to be breathing! If they are breathing, then they still have a chance. How many souls have come to the Lord on their death bed? It’s not the best; after all, these poor souls wasted maybe forty, fifty, sixty years of their life enslaved to sin, but the good news is that they came in with a pulse!
A while back I visited an individual who was dying of AIDS, hepatitis C, and anal cancer. This person had been away from the faith for over twenty years. But while lying in bed, dying in a hospital room, a request to see a priest was made. This person wanted to come back to their childhood faith. I came. I saw. I gave this person Christ. Mission Impossible completed by God’s grace. If only you could see their face.
Are you surprised? There’s nothing to be surprised about. It’s all in a day’s work!
“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Children, have you caught anything to eat? They answered him, ‘No.’ So he said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something…They dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.”
That’s a lot of fish!
There’s a lot of people to catch!
God has given us the best net ever: Christ. Now, all we have to do is cast Him, set Him free, and let the Lord be who He is: THE LORD of heaven and earth!