Jesus confirms the sobering reality of the Judgment in the Parable of the Dragnet. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Vindication so he can take God’s promise of rewards and punishment seriously and by seeking the Fruit of Faithfulness from the Holy Spirit so can live with the reality that his personal Judgment is a heartbeat away.
17th Week in Ordinary time – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 13:44-52
Continuing with His magnificent Sermon of Parables about the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13, Jesus describes the experience of conversion and the fearsome Judgment that is coming to all men.
Jesus gives two descriptions of a man’s conversion when he finally discovers the immeasurable value of the Kingdom of Heaven. Some men, not actively searching, stumble upon the Truth of Jesus and His Kingdom like the man who finds the treasure buried in the field by accident. Other men diligently search for the Truth of Jesus as the pearl merchant searches for a pearl of great value. Upon finding that thing of highest value, both men are converted; they have found their treasure and their lives are completely changed.
The Dragnet (end of the age) is cast out on the sea (the world of men) and fish of every kind (every man) are gathered. The dragnet is pulled ashore (the end of earthly life) and men (the Angels) sort (judged by Christ) and put the good fish (the saintly) into vessels (Heaven) and the bad (the evil) are thrown away (cast into Hell). All men (of all ages, races, nationalities) freely make choices to do good or evil while on earth and all will face the unavoidable Judgment at the End of the Age, and the Particular Judgment upon their death. All men will be infallibly sorted by Christ’s angels using the same criteria: goodness (Greek word translates literally as “beautiful”) or badness (Greek word literally translates as “rotten”). Jesus, the Judge, will accept the good/beautiful/saintly men into Heaven and condemn the bad/rotten/evil men to Hell. Jesus requires the Apostles to explicitly confirm they understand and each will be accountable for preaching this truth at their own Judgment.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be inspired by Jesus, the perfection of Diligence (a part of Justice), as He urges men to diligently aspire to the Kingdom of Heaven: Son of God, Jesus has first-hand experience of the glories of Heaven which are beyond human comprehension; from His experiences in the world, Jesus uses common imagery to intrigue men, who cannot grasp the supernatural realities of Heaven; graciously, Jesus urges men to diligently act to prepare for the Judgment, so they might avoid the pains of Hell and have everlasting happiness in Heaven.
Take God’s rewards and punishments seriously
Realize: Though many today preach a presumptuous false Gospel of mercy which denies or ignores God’s just punishment for unrepentant mortal sin, Jesus’ parables are based on vindication and offer both “carrots” (hidden treasures, valuable pearls) and “sticks” (fiery furnace, weeping and gnashing of teeth); God does not make mistakes or “evolve” to meet the sensitivities of modern men and deliberately warns men of the punishment for evil.
Believe: Reflect upon Heaven and Hell (CCC 1023-1029; 1033-1037).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Judge, help me build the Virtue of Vindication (a part of Justice) so I fully accept Your justice of rewards and punishments, I hold myself accountable to Your standard of holiness, and I never forget I will either be received into Heaven or condemned to Hell.
Live with the reality that Judgment is a heartbeat away
Realize: Death is a certainty for all men and often comes unexpectedly, leaving many men unprepared for their Judgment.
Believe: Reflect upon Death and the Particular and Final Judgment (CCC 1007, 1021-1022; 1038-1041).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruit of Faithfulness so I zealously pursue sainthood every single day of my life and I am always ready for my own unavoidable Judgment, whenever You call me to account for my life.