Reflection by Annette K. Tenny
Today’s Gospel: Matthew 13:47-53 – Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori
The thirteenth chapter of Matthew relates a series of parables that Christ tells a large gathering. He uses images, actions, and items from the natural world to teach the people.
The stories Jesus tells the crowds are meant to help them understand that the kingdom of heaven, promised to them as told by the prophets, stands before them now, in the person and ministry of Christ. Dismissing the crowd, Jesus turns to His disciples, only to find them scratching their heads right along with everyone else.
In short order, Jesus tells the disciples three short parables. These stories are meant to teach them two important points. The first two are meant to illuminate the necessity of doing whatever is required of them in order to obtain the kingdom of heaven.
Our reading today begins with the third ‘speed parable’. It’s similar to a parable Jesus earlier told the crowds but here, it makes clear that the disciples’ job is not to decide who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but to make sure they work to bring the opportunity to as many as possible.
“The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous…” Christ tells them. Or, in the words of actor and WWF-famous Dwayne Johnson (The Rock); “Know your role!”
In typical parental fashion, Jesus asks the disciples if they understand. In typical ‘kid fashion’, the disciples nod their heads and declare yes, they’ve got it.
Or maybe not so much — because here we are, over 2,000 years later and we still struggle with this simple distinction. We are supposed to do the bringing, by sharing the faith, and God is the one who is supposed to do the judging.
How often have I passed judgement on a person or even a whole group of people, deciding for God that so and so doesn’t belong in His church because of any number of reasons? How often have I forgotten that my job is to share?
O loving and merciful Creator, help me to keep my mind and heart open to all who I encounter, and remember to share with them all You have taught me. Amen.
Copyright 2019 Annette K. Tenny
AK Tenny is a freelance writer living in the Sauratown Mountains in North Carolina.
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