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. Do you understand all these things?” They answered, “Yes.” And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there. (Matthew 13:47-53)
The gospel reading above is a reminder to all of us about the coming judgment day. Nobody knows when that day will arrive but it will surely come whether we are prepared or not.
On that day, each one of us will face our creator to await His judgment. Nobody will escape or will be excused except perhaps those whose freedom to choose was compromised by disability, mental or otherwise.
When will that end be? That, of course, we do not know – fortunately! But one thing we do know is that our own end will come in a relatively short time, even if we live to be 100. And when that happens, it will be clear to God, if not to others, whether we are leaving this world in the Kingdom or outside it, that is, whether we are with God or against him.
How can we make sure we are in the right place? The best guarantee is to enroll in the Kingdom today and every day, to live, with Christ’s help, in the way he has shown us. If we do that on a day-to-day basis the future will take care of itself and there is no need to worry.
Jesus reminds us that while there is time, we need to seek and practice righteousness. What is “righteousness” in a biblical sense?
Being righteous literally means to be right, especially in a moral way. Religious people often talk about being righteous. In their view, the righteous person not only does the right thing for other people but also follows the way of Jesus Christ.
A dear person once said to me that “so much of what you write and preach is always the same . . . it’s always about living a life that mirrors Christ.” I responded “but, of course, it is. Our lives are not measured in metrics or worldly achievement., Instead they are measured by how closely we lived the teachings of Christ. So, I try to offer my congregants and readers insights into how that life can be mirror the words of Christ..”
It may be difficult for us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” due to negative responses of some people but we need to remember that the liberty we have while on earth is limited and temporary whereas the peace and joy that we will enjoy in the Kingdom of God is eternal. That is why investing in the Kingdom is priceless and its forthcoming is worth the wait.
We need to be especially careful that we do not become so convinced of our righteousness that we call out the wickedness of anyone who does not agree with us. Sadly, within the Christian church, our country, and our families, we often hear proclaimed this false sense of being “on the right side” of theology, politics, or a family conflict. These parables clearly tell us that wickedness and righteousness will continue to battle in our Church, our communities, our families, and our souls. With the exception of Jesus himself, there has never been a human being who is completely righteous and without sin. One of the devil’s favorite tricks is to get us to focus on the speck in our brother’s eye while ignoring the plank in our own. Rather than lamenting the state of the world, we should turn to God, asking the grace to pursue our own holiness and root out our own sin.
I wish to repeat that . . . “turn to God, asking the grace to pursue our own holiness and root out our own sin. “
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, grant me patience and love when I encounter those who think, speak, and act differently than I do. Teach me to see every person I encounter as you see them, with eyes of love and a desire for their good. Curate my heart, my mind, and my soul and fill me with love for good and hatred for sin. Keep me from being judgmental of others, and when I am tempted to be judgmental, gently remind me of my own need for forgiveness.”
“God does not want the exclusion and the condemnation of anyone; he wants that all may have life and life in abundance. Each one of us excludes himself/herself by not living His word.”