Jesus reveals 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 punishments seriously and by seeking the Fruit of Faithfulness from the Holy Spirit so he can live in the reality that his own personal Judgment is a single heartbeat away.
17th Week in Ordinary time – Thursday – Mt 13:47-53
Completing the presentation of parables on the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13, in the Parable of the Dragnet, Jesus reiterates the fearsome coming Judgment that is coming to all men.
The Dragnet uses the familiar imagery of fishermen and their catch on the nearby Sea of Galilee. The dragnet (the end of the age) is cast out on the sea (the world of men) and fish of every kind (all men and women) are gathered. The dragnet is pulled ashore (the end of earthly life) and men (the Angels) sort (judged by Jesus) and put the good fish (the saintly) into vessels (Heaven) and the bad (the evil) are thrown away (cast into Hell).
The Dragnet offers a number of insights. All men (of all ages, races, nationalities) are given the freedom to live, making choices for good and evil while on earth. Every man freely makes choices to do good or evil while on earth and each will face the unavoidable Judgment at the End of the Age, and the Particular Judgment upon his 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. Confirming His deliberate intention to warn all men about the Judgment and condemnation of the evil to Hell, Jesus requires the Apostles to confirm they understand; each Apostle will be accountable for preaching this truth at their own Judgement.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be warned and concerned by the words of Jesus, the perfection of Justice, as He describes the coming Judgment: Jesus, the perfection of Prudence, purposefully conceived this parable to reach the hearts and minds of men; Divine Knowledge, Jesus confirms the reality of good and evil and that men are characterized by their behaviors, either righteous or wicked; Divine Judge, Jesus confirms the existence of Hell and that men are exiled to Hell, deliberately choosing to use Fear (fiery furnace, wailing, grinding of teeth) to motivate men to repent; Divine King, Jesus speaks of His Judgment and Hell, and requires that the Apostles confirm they understand and will preach the fullness of His truth.
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.