Ordinary Time Week 17: Sunday

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.” (Matthew 13:47)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

”Now, these things being said, we must hold that “the kingdom of heaven is similar to a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind,” in order to set forth the varied character of the principles of action among people, which are as different as possible from each other. The expression “gathered from every kind” embraces both those worthy of praise and those worthy of blame in respect of their inclinations toward the forms of virtues or of vices. And the kingdom of heaven is compared with the broad and variegated texture of a net, with reference to the old and the new Scripture, which are woven together of thoughts of widely varied kinds.

And this net has been cast into the waves of the sea. The waves toss about persons in every part of the world as they swim in the bitter affairs of life. Before the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, this net was not wholly filled. The net expected by the Law and the Prophets had to be completed by him who says, “Don’t think that I came to destroy the law and the prophets; I came not to destroy but to fulfill.” The texture of the net has been completed in the Gospels and in the words of Christ through the apostles. On this account, therefore, “the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea and gathered every kind of fish.” In addition to what has been said, the expression “gathered from every kind” may refer to the calling of the Gentiles out of every nation.” (Commentary on Matthew, 12)

O God,
Protector of those who hope in You,
without whom nothing has firm foundation,
nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance Your mercy upon us
and grant that, with You as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to those that ever endure.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen