By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: July 28, 2016
July 28, 2016

Gospel MT 13:47-53

Jesus said to the disciples:
“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.”

“Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old.”
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

Reflection:

Jesus said to the disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.”

I think the above passage could well serve as the ideal definition of church: a place where people of “every kind” come together.

A priest friend once told me that while walking in Manhattan, he was approached by a “woman of the street” and propositioned.

He immediately recognized her as someone with whom he had attended school. She did not recognize him as he was not wearing his clerical clothes.

“Sally!” he said. “How are you? It’s me, Paul. I haven’t seen you since we graduated from high school.”

Completely embarrassed, the woman turned and started to walk away.

“Sally,” Father Paul said, “Please, have a cup of coffee with me.”

As they sat and talked about old times, Sally opened up. She told him her story of how she had come to be a prostitute.

Filled with compassion, Father Paul said, “Sally, please, come back to the church.”

With surprise on her face, Sally replied, “Paul, why would I ever come back to the church? I already feel bad enough about myself.”

Tragically, Sally’s memories of church was of a place where people were judged, instead of a place where people were welcomed.

Sadly, too often, we who attend church also think of it as a place where the “good people” go.

“…….every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

We learn from our life experiences, “both the new and the old.”  All of our experiences are valuable as we make our way through life.

Through their pain and suffering , the “Sally’s” among us come to yearn for the healing touch of God.

May we of the “church” remember our own failings, and be the first to embrace and welcome them “home.”

“The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”    – – Timothy Keller



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