The Net

Friends in Christ, today in the gospel, Jesus gives this parable of the net. In those days in Palestine, fishermen fished with two different methods of nets. One was the casting net which was thrown from shore and then pulled in, capturing the fish that were targeted. The other kind of net was with the drag-net. This net was put into the water and pulled by a boat, enclosing all kinds of fish and other things. In this case, the net was taken to land to sort out the good things from the bad.
It is to this that Jesus refers: “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. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace.
As William Barclay says, there are two great lessons here. The first lesson is that the Church is like this drag-net. All kinds of people are in the Church: good, bad, useless, – but it is not ours to judge. Sometimes it’s actually deceiving, who is good and who is not. Some people think that the Church should be more of an exclusive club: only for those who are fully committed. If you do not practice your faith 100%, Mass every Sunday, Confession every year, prayers every day – if not, you are out, not allowed inside the church. Some Protestant sects operate like that. Some think this would be the right method, to really purify the faith. But this is not the Church, Jesus says so. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.” So that is the 1st lesson.
The 2nd lesson that we learn from this parable is that the time of separation WILL come, when the good will indeed be separated from the bad. When the truth is made known about every soul, and they are sent to eternal bliss or eternal damnation. In this world however, it is hard for us to know who are in the Elect. Some who are evil, may be saints before they die. Some who seem to be good, may become lost. But the separation of the good and the evil is not man’s work, but God’s.

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