Posts Tagged Final Judgment
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 the preceding parable, Jesus warned us against unreadiness and extolled the value of wathcfulness, vigilance and readiness. While, in the proceeding parable he dramatically shifted to another metaphor in which he compares his Second Coming to the unexpected arrival of a thief. He said to his disciples, “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour” (Lk 12:14). The Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour, like a thief at night. And he will come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead.
In that Day of Judgment at the Parousia or when the call of death arrives, “each one of us shall give account of himself or herself to God” (Romans 14:12) as a steward of the gifts of nature and the blessings and graces of God. What is a steward? A steward in ancient culture was a slave who was left in charge of domestic affairs when the master was away (16:1; 1 Cor 4:4-5; Michel 1967:149-51). The steward’s major responsibility was to care for the other servants’ welfare, especially to allot food to them. Food might be handed out daily, weekly or monthly. A steward’s job was to serve, not to exercise power. This may well be why Jesus uses the image (Manson 1957:118).
What kind of steward God expects us? God expects Christian as accountable, faithful and productive stewards of God’s grace and gifts of creation, life, body, talents and skills and wealth and possession.
Negatively, in order that the Lord will find us responsible, faithful and productive stewards when he comes in glory, let us avoid some of these pitfalls and mistakes while awaiting the second coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior:
· First, complacency that Jesus’ return is not yet imminent.
· Second, idleness or sloth. Doing nothing.
· Third, gross negligence in the performance of duties.
· Fourth, procrastination. Always postponing to another day what can be done for today.
· Fourth, abuse of power and position and squandering of resources.
· Fifth, manana habit. Only good in beginning. Lack of perseverance.
Positively, let us religiously perform the tasks require of us and fulfill our role as stewards of God’s gifts and graces:
· First, protect, preserve and conserve all Gods’ gifts entrusted to us.
· Second, develop to the maximum all the spiritual, material and physical resources entrusted to our care.
· Third, communicate and share all the fruits and benefits of the gifts and talents we preserved, developed and cultivated.
Good stewards will be generously rewarded while bad stewards will be severely punished and will suffer a great loss. “The reward or punishment will be proportioned to the powers, gifts, opportunities, and knowledge of the offenders.” As scripture says: ‘everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required’; cf. Mt 5:19-20; 7:21-22; 25:41-46; Jas 2:14.
Friends, if and when the Lord comes now, do you think will he find you responsible, faithful and productive stewards or lazy, abusive and unfaithful stewards. Can you give him an account of your stewardship? Remember, “What we do in life, echoes in eternity” (Gladiator Poster).
“As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Lk 17:27-28)
These words of our Lord are a prophecy about the last coming of the Son of Man. We should remember that prophecy often involves events on different levels, many symbols, a terminology of its own; it gives us insight into future events, but the concrete details only become clear when the events actually occur. Our Lord’s last coming will be something sudden and unexpected; it will catch many people unprepared. Jesus illustrates this by giving examples from sacred history: as in the time of Noah (cf. Genesis 6:9-19:7) and that of Lot (cf. Genesis 18:16-19:27) divine judgment will be visited on men without warning.
However, it is useful to recall here that everyone will find himself before the divine Judge immediately when he dies, at the Particular Judgment. Thus Jesus’ teaching has also a present urgency about it: here and now a disciple should scrutinize his own conduct, for the Lord can call him when he least expects.
If you knew that an impending disaster, such as a flood or hurricaine, was about to destroy your home and threaten your life, wouldn’t you make preparation to escape and find refuge in a safe place? Jesus warned his followers to avert spirtual disaster and to not be caught off-guard when the “day of judgment” would strike the earth and its inhabitants. The “Day of the Lord” was understood in the Old Testament as the time when God would manifest his power and glory, and overthrow his enemies. Isaiah describes it as a day when God will bring down the proud and the arrogant who flaunt his law (Isaiah 2:11). That day will be darkness, gloom, disaster, and desolation for the earth when “God will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity” (Isaiah 13:6-11). The prophet Amos declared that the “Day” meant judgment for the house of Israel as well, and not just the other nations who followed other gods (Amos 5:18-20). The prophet Joel proclaimed that at this “Day” those who truly repented would be saved, while those who remained enemies of God, whether Jew or Gentile, would be punished (see Joel 2).
Jesus compares the separation of the good from the evil on the Day of judgement at the end of the age with the judgment and separation that took place in the days of Noah, when God saw that the inhabitants of the world had been filled with every imaginable evil (Genesis 6:5), with corruption and violence spreading everywhere (Genesis 6:11-13). In Noah’s day, God swept away in the great flood all who chose the way of evil rather than good. God intended to start over again with a people who would choose to do good by obeying him. Noah and his family alone were spared this punishment because they remained faithful to God. They heeded his warning to build an ark to escape the destructive force of the impending flood. [See the book of Genesis, chapters 6-8, for the account of Noah’s ark and the great flood.] Noah’s ark has stood as a beacon of hope to all who would seek refuge in God and follow in his way of justice and holiness.
God promised Abraham, “I will not destroy Sodom if there are ten good people in it. But ten good people could not be found” (Genesis 18:32 ). The Lord rained burning sulfur on the sin cities of Sodom and Gommorah and destroyed them. Abraham saw smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a huge furnace. (see Genesis 19:24-25, 28)
Some biblical scholars believe that an earthquake (common to the area) touched off the fiery holocaust. Words like “burning sulfur” and “smoke “suggest that coal and petroleum deposits (still found in the area) exploded during the earthquake, igniting the infernal described. Regardless of how it happened, the point is clear: Sodom and Gommorah met with a terrible fate that was interpretted as God’s judgment upon the two cities.
What point does the story of Sodom and Gommorah make? “I shall tell you a secret, my friend. Don’t wait for the last judgment; it is taking place every day” (Albert Camus).
Jesus makes clear to his disciples that the Father has given him all authority to execute judgments on the earth “because he is the Son of man” (John 5:27). The “Son of man” is a Messianic title for God’s anointed one who will destroy God’s enemies and establish an everlasting kingdom of righteousness and peace. The “Day of the Lord” points to the final judgment of all the living as well as all the dead who dwelt upon the earth. The “Son of man” is the one who is given supreme authority to judge and execute justice on the earth. Jesus comes the first time to lay down his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. He promises to return again at the “end of the age” as King and Judge both of the living and the dead. While we do not know the time of his return, we will not mistake it when it happens. It will be apparent to all, both Christians and non-believers as well.
So be ready. Be prepared. Be watchful.
Watch your THOUGHTS; They become WORDS.
Watch your WORDS; They become ACTIONS.
Watch your ACTIONS; They become HABITS.
Watch your HABITS; They become CHARACTER.
Watch your CHARACTER; It becomes your DESTINY.
– Frank Outlaw
Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, I place all my hope in you because you have redeemed the world by your death on the cross and by your victory over the grave. Help me to never lose sight of the goal of heaven that I may live each day in joyful anticipation of your return in glory.”