Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Daily Devotions

Jer 18:1-6; Ps 146:1-6; Mt 13:47-53



Our days of friendship and service are filled with the blessedness of help from the God of Jacob; the LORD who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them.  The praise of God fills our souls.  We do not put our trust in princes, in the powerful men of this world, in whom there is no salvation.  Only the plans of the LORD last forever; the plans of great men perish on their day of death.  The Father blesses these friends of the Lord Jesus and He blesses the friends of the Lord Jesus in every generation because in God alone do they put all their hope.  Indeed, we are like clay in the had of the potter; we give ourselves over in obedience to the will of God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them.  Indeed faith-filled men and women are still models throughout history for all of us who are caught in the net of the Kingdom; their witness teaches us to embrace wisdom and follow the One who calls us all though life and into the heavenly kingdom.  It is this wisdom we seek here at every liturgy as we consume the very incarnate wisdom of God in the Body and Blood of Christ.

 

Jeremiah listened faithfully to the word of the LORD.  We are called to such faithful attentiveness.  We are to behold all of life with eyes of faith and a heart open to hear wisdom from on high.  The Prophet Jeremiah learned a vital and life-giving lesson from the potter.  He saw in the toil of this humble craftsman a parable of the way that Our Lord works with the human heart.  When the potter shapes a useless vessel, he does not throw it away.  Rather, he takes what appears to be only a mistake and reshapes it.  The Creator of heaven and earth does not abandon the human nature formed by his hand in the Garden of Eden.  When our first parents failed to hold the mystery of God in their hearts, when they gave into temptation and disobeyed the LORD, the Father did not abandon them.  The children of Adam and Eve were given the hope of salvation in the promise made to the First Eve, “Your offspring will crush the head of the serpent.”  Such a proto-evengalion, such good news, is fulfilled in the obedience of the New Eve, Mary and her only son, the New Adam, Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Indeed, the faithfulness of God to our First Parents is repeated in the lives of every son and daughter of God.  Each one of us is clay in the hand of the Potter-God.  He constantly reshapes us for his glory so that we might carry the mystery of His Kingdom in the earthen vessels of our hearts.  Upon every heart misshapen by sin is the creative hand of the LORD.  His loving hands make of us that which we could not make of ourselves.  We are not our own creator; we are made and remade by the hands of the God who made heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them.

 

The Lord Jesus has finished a great series of parables on the mystery of the Kingdom.  He has taught the crowds and his disciples all they need to know to move on with him to the mystery of the Cross.  It is his passion and death upon the altar of the Cross that completes and fulfills the mystery of the Kingdom.  The ultimate parable is not a word picture of the mysteries; it is the painful and dark revelation of redeeming love present in the mystery of human suffering.  The Divine Teacher used many images from the daily life of his audience to give us a glimpse of the Kingdom, so close and so available.  Yet, these parables were not complete without the wordless story of the Cross.  In this ultimate parable about the Kingdom the Lord Jesus proclaims the universal reach of the net thrown into the sea of humanity.  In the Church, the Kingdom present in mystery here and now, the fishers of men collect every kind of fish and when it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets.  So often these days we hear that the Church and its ministries are too exclusive.  Somehow, this false notion of the Church has become very popular.  Many who are public and vocal enemies of the Church do not know what it is or what it teaches.  They are satisfied with misconceptions.  It is our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere, to witness to the inclusive reach of the net of the Kingdom.  In the end of the age of this world as we know it, the angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous.  Until then, we continue to cast the net and gather in fish of every kind.  With our storehouse full of imagery about the mystery of the Kingdom, the wise stewards of the household will have the old and new to help our contemporaries understand the truth of God’s unconditional love and universal outreach.  Everyone suffers and sooner or later we are plunged into the terrifying sea.  When we have no power to save ourselves it is then that the net of the Kingdom collects us and gathers us together.  This is the good news we have to offer our world.