Archive for category Eschatology
The Parable of the Net has close similiarity with the two earlier parables, the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Parable of the Weed.
The Parable of the Net is closely similar to the Parable of the Mustard Seed in the sense that it describes the Kingdom of God as universal in scope and in nature. Hence, based on these two parables, the Kingdom of God here on earth is intended to accept men and women of all generations and of all nations and that include both the wicked and the righteous, the saint and the sinner, the good and the bad. In connection with this what is the challenge for us? To adopt an open, non discriminating and non judgmental and freewheeling approach to evangelization. A major problem which we will be encountering with this approach however would be: both the undesirables and desirables will enter and mixed in the Church. Some undesirables will be converted…Some undesirables who seemed promising in the beginning will betray God in the end. God does not make us responsible for this. But let us always be reminded to withold our judgment for judgment belongs, not to the disciples, but to God. This parable, however, is not a call to overlook grievous sin. A few chapters hence, Jesus will establish procedures for reproving sinners and for excommunicating them if they fail to mend their ways (Mt 18:15-20).
The Parable of the Net is closely similar to the Parable of the Weed in the sense that these parable recognize the fact that the the Kingdom of God here on earth is composed of both sinners and saints. We cannot perfectly separate the two and eliminate the oter while the Kingdom of God is still on earth. Otherwise we will destroy the good together with the bad. We will uproot the weed while uprooting the weed whose roots were already entwined with the wheat. But when the day of the Final Judgment comes, the good and the bad will be totally and perfectly separated like what the fishermen did in the Parable. After having scooped up all sorts fish, both the good and bad the fishermen sorted their catch and discarded the unwanted or the usable fish.
Whether we like it or not the day of the final judgment will come. Matthew never tires in warning his readers of the reality of judgment and hence the importance of genuine discipleship. It is a warning that both the world and the Church need” (Hagner).When that day comes the good and bad will finally and perfectly be separated. The wicked goes directly to hell to be punished eternally while the righteous will be rewarded in heaven and they “will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father (Mt 13:43).
“Mention of the final judgment reminds the hearers and readers of the parables that discipleship is not a game of ‘let’s pretend’; it is a matter of life and death” (Brueggemann, 424). The reality of the final judgment once again remind us that following Jesus is not a game of “let’s pretend.,” it is a matter of life and death, it is a matter of salvation and damnation, it is a matter of happiness and misery. Choose life and lasting happiness with God and with our loved ones in heaven.
In Palestine during Jesus’ time, the wedding took place in two stages. The first is betrothal. This was held at the residence of the father of the bride, where the bridegroom presented the marriage contract and bride price to the father and the bride. During this stage the bride remained in her father’s house for almost a year and there is no sexual contact between them until the second part of the wedding when the groom would come for her to bring her home with him. This procession of the wedding party to the house of the groom would signal the beginning of the feasting.
This is the context of the gospel story when the five young, unmarried woman, around twelve years old at the bridegroom’s house, who went out with their lamps to welcome bridegroom and the bride and the whole procession and to lighten their path, were considered wise virgins. While the other five who were not ready were considered foolish virgins. Here the focus is not the bride but the virgins and their lamps.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins warns us against unreadiness and promises blessings to the watchful, vigilant and ready. While this short parable does not specifically mention Christ’s return, that is its focus. Those who are ready will be greatly rewarded, and those who are not ready will suffer a great loss of eternal life.
No one knows neither the day nor the hour (see Mt 25:13) when Jesus will return at the end of time as King and Judge both of the living and the dead. And that will be final, definite and absolute. There will be no “last two minutes” as in Basketball. There will be no further time for preparation. There will be no more last chances. Because of this, there are those who will be ready, and those who will not be. The time for preparation is now. Now is the time to procure “oil of good deed.” For Matthew, light is equated with good deeds that are visible to others and that lead to the praise of the heavenly Father (Mt 7:16). “Let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven (Mt. 5:16). “God will not forget your work and the love you have shown him by your service to his holy people. Our desire is that each of you show the same zeal till the end, fully assured of that for which you hope” (Hebrews 6:10).
I, therefore, exhort you with this words of St. John of God: “Labour without stopping; do all the good works you can while you still have the time.”