The Parable of the Net

“The Parable of the Net”
A reflection on Matthew 13:47-50
Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
©️2022 Gloria M. Chang

Again, 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.

Matthew 13:47-50

Divine Net of Grace

Building on the Parable of the Weeds, the Parable of the Net counsels perseverance in a morally mixed-up world. The imagery of judgment and separation at the “end of the age,” as depicted in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment and Dante’s Divine Comedy, inspires fear. But grace transforms fear into love. Salutary fear of losing the beloved strengthens bonds by preventing presumption. Progressively, a friendship cherished grows in charity. So let us fall into the Lord’s net of grace in childlike trust.

Seine netting in Carlos Bay
Photograph by Russ, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

Divine Fisher, net us in grace,
That when caught we may see your face.

2 Replies to “The Parable of the Net”

  1. Dear GMC, your reflection reminds me of something a Spiritual Director of mine used to say, “Seek the Beyond that is already within.”

    1. Please keep in mind: God is both transcendent and immanent, but God and creation are distinct. We are called to be “partakers of the Holy Spirit” (Hebrews 6:4, RSV) and “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4, RSV), but we are not God.

      An expression like that of St. Athanasius, “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God,” does not obliterate this distinction.

      The Incarnation is a “hypostatic union” of divinity and humanity, not a tertium quid (a “third thing” that is neither divine nor human).

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