Faith Daily | 29 July 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p565
O God, the protector of all that trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy,
that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may so pass through things temporal
that we finally lose not the things eternal.
Grant this, O heavenly Father,
for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 13: 47-53
47 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51 ‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ 52And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’ 53When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Kathy Allen
Here we have two more parables or teaching stories. The first would certainly appeal to the disciples as many were fisherman born and raised and were used to casting nets, hauling them in and separating the useful or good fish from the not so useful or bad fish or other debris found in the nets. The surprise in this parable is that Jesus makes it clear that we ourselves are the fish and not the fisherman. Only God and his anointed and appointed, Jesus along with chosen angels, can know who will be left in the net and who will be cast aside. God’s kingdom is open to all and only He can see into the hearts of all. Another way of looking it is wonder who would show up and be welcome if church was only open to ‘good’ people. It is only God’s love and forgiveness that allows us into His church.
Jesus then moves on to the scribes who were known to be devoted to the study of God’s word. Jesus seems to be saying that we must accept and be discerning enough to engage with the best of the old and the new. How easy it is to dismiss change as unnecessary and irreverent; as easy as it is to dismiss the traditional ways and practices as irrelevant and behind the times. In this passage, Jesus urges listeners to make a decision about how to conduct their lives. He focuses on the choices to be made between good and evil, and just and unjust. There is not a grey area here. This is how it must be for God to welcome us to the Kingdom of Heaven. He reminds listeners that they make choices to keep and discard in their everyday lives; what is bad or evil is not just separated out, but cast away. The consequences of the wrong choice are disastrous and stark. The choice is not an easy one, but it is deliberate. The choice here is about admission to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Sometimes it seems overwhelmingly difficult to follow the commandments of God and the example of Jesus. It helps to remember that we are, after all, only fish and we have to keep swimming.
FINAL PRAYER: Fisherman’s Prayer
God grant that I may live to fish for another shining day
But when my final cast is made I then most humbly pray:
When in the Lord’s great landing net
And peacefully asleep
That in His mercy I be judged ‘good enough to keep’. Amen.