The Gospel shows Jesus continues his teaching on the kingdom of heaven, which brings us to consider the sobering thought of the final judgment. In comparing the kingdom of heaven to a net catching good and bad fish, this probably resonated quite clearly to the people of that time, who would be familiar with fishing practices.This parable is also similar to the parable of the weeds among the wheat, which provides a similar warning about judgment.
The parable about wheat surely resonates more clearly with me, as I am not much of a fisherman. However, I have grown wheat, and my wheat has included some weed patches. From what I have observed, weeds often arise where the stand was weak, as where we drove our grain drill a little too wide, leaving some open space. Sometimes, you just have to drive around those weed patches rather than running them through the combine, thus foregoing any harvest on that patch. Later on, you must disk or shred the weeds, so that they do not reproduce for next year. We should hope, therefore, that the wheat stands strong and close together.
It is a hard thing to consider judgment. Yet Jesus’ teaching seems quite clear. Once again, we must take the world as we find it, not as we might wish to make it to be. It underscores the need for us to pay attention. We surely do not wish to be a “bad fish” or a “weed.” Yet, we should also hear the words of the Psalmist, who mentions the water the Lord provided to those who “lose their way.” As one who has lost his way from time to time, I am greatly comforted by these words.
By Edward Morse