The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday of the 17th Week of Ordinary Time Cycle A is Matthew 13:44-52.

Completing the “Sermon of Parables” about the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13, Christ describes the experience of conversion and commitment when a man discovers Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven and the fearsome Judgment that is coming to all men.

Christ describes two ways by which men have a conversion experience when they discover the immeasurable value of the Kingdom of Heaven which is always present and mysteriously hidden. Some men, stumble upon the Truth of Christ (treasure in the field) while others diligently search (pearl of great value). Upon finding that thing of highest value (Christ Jesus), men are converted; are fully converted, full of zeal, full of joy, and give up everything. Following true conversion, men make a commitment to break with the past to obtain the Kingdom of Heaven; Christ reiterates the need for “all in” commitment to obtain the treasure of Heaven when He tells the Rich Young Man to sell everything (Matt 19:21).

The Dragnet uses the familiar imagery of fishermen and their catch on the nearby Sea of Galilee. The dragnet (the end of the age) is cast out on the sea (the world of men) and fish of every kind (all men and women) are gathered. The dragnet is pulled ashore (the end of earthly life) and men (the Angels) sort (judged by Christ) and put the good fish (the saintly) into vessels (Heaven) and the bad (the evil) are thrown away (cast into Hell).  All men (of all ages, races, nationalities) are given the freedom to live, making choices for good and evil while on earth. All men will face the unavoidable Judgment at the End of the Age (and the particular judgment upon their death).  All men will be infallibly sorted by Christ’s Angels using the same criteria: goodness (Greek word translates literally as “beautiful”) or badness (Greek word literally translates as “rotten”).  Christ, the Judge, will accept the good/beautiful/saintly men into Heaven and condemn the bad/rotten/evil men to Hell. Christ requires that the Apostles confirm they have understood; they will have no excuse for failing to spread the Gospel when their own Judgment day comes.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of Man, Christ’s hand’s-on experience of His human nature gives Him deep insights into what men value, their emotional states and how to motivate them. Divine Teacher, Christ develops short powerful parables that intrigue men across time. Divine King, Christ reveals the Kingdom of Heaven and a model for how faithful men should value and react to the Kingdom. Divine Prophet, Christ reveals the coming Judgment and the existence of Heaven and Hell.  Divine Judge, Christ describes the sorting of men based on if they are good (righteousness) or bad (evil).

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) In Matthew 13, Christ zealously offers several parables that give mysterious glimpses into Beatific Vision of the Father in the Kingdom of Heaven. Marvel that Christ’s great zeal that comes from personal experience and His willingness to reveal aspects of the Kingdom of Heaven to you.

2) Christ’s parables which call men to seek the Kingdom include “carrots” (hidden treasures, valuable pearls) and “sticks”  (fiery furnace, weeping an gnashing of teeth). Reflect upon Heaven and Hell (CCC 1023-1029; 1033-1037) and pray for Christ to more fully convert your heart, giving you a urgent hunger for Heaven and a visceral fear of Hell.

3) While death is a certainty for all men, death often comes unexpectedly, leaving men unprepared for their Judgment. Reflect on the Particular and Final Judgment (CCC 1021-1022; 1038-1041) and pray for Christ to give you the zeal each day to pursue sainthood so as to be prepared for your own Judgment.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Trinity

Virtue of the Day – Charity

Corporal Work of Mercy – To feed the hungry

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To admonish the sinner