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. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
The parable of the fishing net resonates with the Lord’s first summons to His Apostles, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. When He met them, they may very well have been doing what the parable describes. ‘Put these nets away, because I will make you fishers of men.’
So the scene in this little parable packs a particular punch, because it was something particularly familiar. Separating the good and bad contents of the net would be the daily toil of any commercial fisherman. But, for a kosher Jew, the work would have been more meticulous, and would have had a religious aspect. The Jew would have to throw back not only the junk, but also any unclean sea creatures, even if they would be regarded as perfectly edible by a pagan.
So, with this parable, the Lord effectively says, ‘My friends, do you not realize that this daily burden you have undertaken for years, which is as familiar to you as your own shirt, serves as a perfect image for the invisible work you will undertake as Apostles? But you are now liberated from the task of judging clean and unclean. Your job is to cast the net; I will take care of sorting everything out.’
It is almost as if He would say to us:
The kingdom of heaven is like someone sitting down to read e-mail after a long day of working on other projects. He deletes the junk e-mails without even opening them. The interesting-looking ones he keeps in his inbox. Thus it will be at the end of the age, when the divine inbox is full of e-mails. The angels will separate the spam from the good. Don’t worry about deleting any e-mails. Just keep doing what you can to keep My inbox full.
…In April of 2006, the Holy Father’s diplomatic representative in the U.S. had just arrived from his previous post in the Holy Land. He immediately gave evidence of living the highly supernatural, moment-to-moment kind of apostolic life lived by many Italian priests. I witnessed this firsthand.
Archbishop Sambi gamboled into the Washington Hilton ballroom to smile and deliver the good wishes of the Holy Father to a couple thousand people eating bacon and eggs.
His English did not trip swimmingly off his tongue. Nor did he know exactly where he was.
The Nuncio was not too proud, upon mounting the podium, to turn around and look at the banner above him. In mid-sentence.
“I am deelited to repreesent the Holee Father at the, ah… [pause to turn around and read] Nasheenal Catolic Prayir Brakefust!”
We erupted with applause. To love the Holy Father is to love His Apostolic Delegate to the U.S.
We have had some great ones. The one criteria for appointment to the post seems to be: speaking English fluently with an accent that makes you impossible to understand.
May His Excellency rest in peace.