daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, 17th Week of the Year, July 28, 2011
Exod. 40:16-21, 34-38, Ps. 83, Matt. 13:47-53

"The kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth" (Matt. 13:47-50).

Such is the kingdom of God. The apostles were called to be fishers of men, and they fished for every type of person, both good and bad. "And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men'" (Matt. 4:19). This is also our task as Christians, to be fishers of men, of the good as well as the bad. They are like good and bad fish. But at the end of the age, there will be a separation. The bad will be cast out, while the good are gathered in. God wants us to call all we can find. "Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good" (Matt. 22:9-10). But afterward, there will be a reckoning, and the good will be separated from the bad.

Among all those who were invited to the wedding feast, there was a man who was not properly a dressed (Matt. 22:11). He was therefore tied up and thrown into "the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. For many are called but few are chosen" (Matt. 22:13-14). If we are in the net now or have been invited to the wedding feast, we had better be sure that we are properly dressed, for if we are not, at the end of the age, we will be cast into the outer darkness. Our way of dressing should be proper, modest, and appropriate. Our behavior has to be worthy of the kingdom of God to be among those who are chosen at the end of the age. We still have time to change. But if we are inappropriately dressed, in a worldly and immodest way, if our behavior is not pleasing to God, if we do not live only for him with all our heart, but rather continue living for ourselves and for our own pleasures, we will be cast into the outer darkness on the last day. The angels will throw us "into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth" (Matt. 13:50).

It is important that we invite all, both good and bad, into the kingdom of God. We should try to invite all we can. But if those we invite want to enter into the joy of their Lord, they must dress appropriately and modestly, not in an immodest and worldly way, like the man who was not dressed correctly and was therefore cast into the outer darkness. One must live correctly, leaving behind the lifestyle of the world. We have to live our faith in deeds. Our whole life must be transformed. Our entire lifestyle must change-not just our way of believing, but also our way of living. It must include every aspect of our life.

Then we await the end of the age, when those who are not living as they should will be separated to go "into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41). "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:46). We should not think that there will be no eternal punishment in eternal fire. This is clearly revealed in the Bible. But "the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13:43).


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