The Gospel According to Matthew – 2017.07.30
The Fire Does Not Destroy
The authors of Matthew’s Gospel should have stopped there writing with the good news, as it was presented in the first two examples of what the God’s garden is like.
It is the most priceless thing, it is to be guarded, protected, invested in. Like a field with a hidden treasure or a pearl of great value.
The God’s garden is like a fisherman’s net, full of a great and diverse quantity of fish, but none of the fish are to be set aside for destruction.
Every fish will encounter God’s fire, every person.
In scripture, fire is always an image of our encounter with God.
Every fish will be kissed by the flame of the Spirit, everyone will be changed.
God’s fire may be like a blazing furnace, but the fire refines, rather than destroys. This may be painful, and there may be weeping, but after the tears there will be joy.
He Sells Everything He Owns and Buys the Field
Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.
‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time