Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Our final exam
Again, 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. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. “Do you understand all these things?” They answered, “Yes.” And he replied, “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.” When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there. Mt 13,47-53
“Do you understand all these things?” Jesus says to his disciples, after announcing that at the end of the world “The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace”. They answered, “Yes”. Blessed them! We have understood a little of it. And the next sentence, which should cast a brighter light on the subject, is equally hermetic: “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”. It is clear that if the scribe, an expert in the Holy Scriptures, welcomed the message of the gospel, he would acquire the whole revelation, which consists for him only of the “treasure” of the Old Testament. Jesus, however, begins his commentary on the scribe with that “Then”. Why this start? Certainly the judgment at the end of time will focus on the whole history of salvation, it will take into account all revelation and how mankind has responded to the message of salvation that has gradually unraveled throughout history. In addition to this overall evaluation, there will also be a specific one: “The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous”. On that occasion, but perhaps even before, when I meet the Lord in eternity, I will ask him the meaning of that start. In the meantime, pray that the Lord to enlighten us. Thinking of that final exam on revelation which will be held at the end of time, I feel a little like a friend of mine at university, named Severino, who, seeing the students interviewed for an hour, commented: “Maybe the exam will go well, but all that I know I can tell in five minutes”.