“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.” Jesus spoke these words in the last paragraph of the gospel reading today and they are so true. It wouldn’t hurt for our priests to pay more attention to these words in the gospel today. Have you ever noticed that the majority of the time our priests’ homilies seem to be focused mainly on the gospel? It wouldn’t be right to just focus on the Old Testament reading either though. The scriptures for Mass are much fuller and beautiful when you consider both of the readings. All of the words in the bible can be summed up in one word, “love.” It’s such a simple word, but so complicated.
What’s beautiful and full of God’s love in the first reading for Mass, from the prophet Jeremiah, is his account of watching the potter working at his wheel:
“Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.”
This verse from the Old Testament applies in so many different situations in our lives, that it can’t be counted. If we focused only on the gospel today, we would miss this beautiful verse entirely.
The reason this verse is so beautiful is for many reasons. No matter how bad we mess up our life, God can fix it. No matter how bad our loved ones mess up their lives, God can fix it. In this reading, it even indicates that no matter how bad a country becomes, God can fix the entire country as well.
Other meanings from this verse might apply in other situations too. Like when we have invested many years or even a lifetime in a marriage and it ends because of a divorce or a spouse dies, God can still turn this disaster into something beautiful, just in a different way. Your life will never be the same, that’s true, but it can still become something beautiful and full of love and companionship.
Sometimes people go to college and get most of the way through their education and realize they made a mistake in their major. They really want to do something else. It seems like a disaster and a great waste of time, money and effort, but yet, if you pursue what you love, it will be worth it. If you love what you do, you will never actually ‘work’ a day in your life.
When young people date and a relationship ends, or when a marriage ends because of a divorce, it can also seem like the end of the world, that a terrible disaster has struck. But, there is a way for God’s grace to enter your life even then. Romantic relationships can evolve past the negativity when they come to an end and a friendship can actually form in it’s place.
One last example of this verse is losing your job. It can absolutely feel like a disaster when it happens. It’s even worse if you’ve been fired. A person can feel like a failure at everything then. But, God has a way of turning things around for the good, and opening new doors that you might not have ever seen otherwise. An entire change in your career, doing something you love much better, could be just around the corner.
Jesus said in the gospel that:
“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.”
This parable of course applies to sorting the good people from the bad at the end of time. The good people will go to heaven and the bad people will be cast out.
However, this parable can also apply in another way too. When disaster strikes your life, or an unpredictable course of events happen, how can you handle it? This parable gives some wonderful advice. Look at your life. Retrieve what is good. Throw out what is bad.
Your life is like the fishing net, it holds both the good and the bad. Sometimes it is necessary to sit down and decide what to do about your life itself. A high stress job may need to go. If a divorce or a death of a spouse happens, then maybe focus on your faith, what family you do have, and your friendships, and leave the rest to God. Maybe down size from expensive homes, cars or lifestyles, and choose to live simpler, with less stress and financial problems.
We periodically have to ‘clean house’ in our lives for one reason or another, and Jesus’s parable in the gospel about sorting through the fish in the fishing net can apply in many situations in our own lives too.
Both the new and the old testament readings today, were buried treasure. We just have to discover this treasure for ourselves.
Daily Mass Readings:
Jeremiah 18: 1-6 / Psalm 146 / Matthew 13: 47-53