Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a big ﬁshing net, let down into the sea, in which every kind of ﬁsh has been caught. When the net is full, it is dragged ashore. Then they sit down and gather the good ﬁsh into buckets, but throw the bad away. That is how it will be at the end of time; the angels will go out to separate the wicked from the just, and to throw the wicked into the blazing furnace, where they will weep and gnash their teeth.”
Jesus asked, “Have you understood all these things?” “Yes,” they answered. So he said to them, “Therefore, every teacher of the law, who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven, is like a householder, who can produce from his store things both new and old.”
When Jesus had ﬁnished these parables, he left that place.
It is not surprising that the dragnet of the Church should contain all sorts of people, for in his ministry Jesus himself was hardly selective. Did some not reproach him of associating with the riff-raff, the dregs of society? The Church must not show herself more choosy than he was and want to retain only the “dyed in the wool” Christians. All those who are disdainfully rejected by the exclusive circles of society should be able to find a place among us: the drug addicts, the habitual criminals, those whom nature has made unsightly, the alcoholics, the social misfits, the destitute, the shameful, the losers in the struggle of life. To those who accuse the Church of numbering so many mediocre Christians who are not better than the next man, one need only answer them with the programmatic saying of Jesus: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Mt 9:12). Who thinks of blaming a hospital for being full of patients?
Of course, our belonging to the Church should also change something in our lives. If it matters little at what spiritual level we find ourselves, it is of supreme importance that we should be moving toward Christ.
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