The last Parable of the Kingdom of God
Readings: 1st: Jer 18:1-6; Ps 145; Gos: Mt 13:47-53
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, the Thursday of the seventeenth week of ordinary time, Christ concludes his teaching on the kingdom of God with parables.
Christ compares the kingdom of God to, “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.”
It suffices to note that, only Matthew recorded this last parable. So, unlike the other parables of Christ, this one stands alone in the gospel of Matthew, and has no parallel in the other three gospels.
It is a very practical parable that depicts the everyday life and activity of the disciples of Christ, most of whom were fishermen, or at least, depended on fishing for their daily meal. So, it makes much sense to them.
Definitely, not every sea creature that the net catches in the sea is useful to the fisherman. So, like a wise man, he has to patiently take his time to separate the good from the bad catch.
Therefore, like the parable of the wheat and the weed (Mt 13: 24-30), this last parable points to the wisdom of God, the righteous judge, who will separate the good from the bad at the end of time.
Today as in every good discourse, Christ makes a concluding statement on his teaching on the kingdom of God: “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.”
This concluding statement is very important for two reasons. First, it speaks to his critics, the scribes (authorities) who though, were wise in the things of this world, did not make much effort to gain the wisdom of the kingdom of God.
Second, it reminds all of us that, while the wisdom (qualifications, degrees and titles) we acquire for our survival in this world is good, striving for the wisdom that qualifies us for the kingdom of God guarantees our future.
In other words, our concern or search for reality and its fulfillment, must involve both the temporal and the spiritual for us to be truly wise.
Peace be with you.