Mt 13:47-53 Good and Bad Fish
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.”
I don’t think anyone would disagree with me if I said that there are all kinds of people in the world. But what if I were to say that there were good and bad people in the world? Would you still agree with me? And, to make things a little more complicated, what if I were to tell you that quite a few bad people think they are actually good and very few good people who think they are bad (These people are generally dead and known to us as canonized Saints)?
Now, in order for any of this to make sense, we have to define what it means to be bad. So, who is up to the task? Who would like to do it? Should we submit ourselves to God and His Word or should we act like our ancestors and decide for ourselves? Will we submit or will we vote?
Is the President of Chic-fil-A a bad person (or citizen) or is he a good person when he said, “I THINK we are opening up God’s judgment on our nation”? Is the President of the United States a very bad person or a very good person when he voted, as a Senator, in favor of partial birth abortions? Do we still need to figure this out or has God already decided? Can we know what God thinks or is it still an uncracked (and very convenient) mystery?
We are all sinners; there’s no doubt about that….I think. Actually, there is…if you speak to an atheist. Since they deny the existence of heaven and hell then it means they deny the existence of sin and grace. You can’t have hell if you cannot sin. You can’t have heaven if you can’t receive grace. Although they deny the existence of sin, they don’t deny the existence of criminals. Although they deny the existence of hell, they don’t deny the prisoner in solitary confinement. Although they, along with Nietzsche, have moved beyond good and evil [N.B. That’s the title of a book written by Nietzsche], society has not. That’s good. Even if we write about going beyond good and evil, we still seem to be able to give concrete examples of good and evil. Funny!
As for Christians, I think I can safely speak for everyone when I say that we are all sinners. But although it may be safe to say we are all sinners, it is not very safe to point it out to anyone. And so, in a very silent way, we inadvertently perpetuate sinners to continue to sin and to be blind to sin. Yesterday, I watched on OWN a program regarding the work that nuns do in the United States. One order works very hard at taking good care of male and transgender prostitutes. They feed them, cloth them and make sure they get proper health care. But, I didn’t notice any of the good sisters speaking to them about how bad it was for them. Maybe, I just missed that part, but I thought for sure I saw the entire program.
We have come up with our own Commandments and we respect them much more than we do God’s Commandments. For example, the first and greatest “Civil” Commandment is this: Don’t ever talk about religion. We are very, very good at that. Unfortunately, only Christians are very good at that. While we say nothing, others are saying something and making a difference in the world. The fastest growing religion in the United States is Islam. It has grown by 66% in the past ten years. America isn’t less religious; America is less Christian.
I’ve only seen small portions of the Olympics. I watched the opening games that presented a very concise and elaborate history of England. It seemed like they got everything except the important part; that is, the Christian part; the tremendous influence that Christianity had on its survival and history.
Yesterday, NBC (CNBC, MSNBC, etc…) did their very best at hiding one athlete’s faith. They presented a short documentary on the life of gymnast John Orozco. I have to admit, they did an awesome job at keeping this young man’s faith a secret. Throughout the entire interview, John was wearing a rosary around his neck. NBC went to great lengths at never showing the rosary cross in front of his chest. How deceitful they were in their camera angles and image lengths to keep the cross hidden from viewers. You would almost think it wasn’t there. But it was, and what it did was convince me more than ever at how hard this news station works at giving the impression of how unimportant faith in America is.
When did a rosary or a cross become a bad thing? When did abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia become a good thing? Answer: Roughly the same time.
Have we gone beyond good and bad? No. We’ve just done a much better job at handling the bad and hiding the good. But yesterday, there were tons of cars in the drive-thru windows of a Christian restaurant. And all the politicians and all their bullies, could not stop the good Christian families nor drive them away.