Jesus asks us in today’s Gospel if we “understand all these things.” Do we understand Jesus’ interpretation of the Parable of the Weeds growing among Wheat and the Parable of the Net that collects fish of every kind? Jesus teaches us that there will be a judgement and separation but only at the “end of the age.” Until the end weeds and wheat or fish of every kind are all together. Jesus teaches that the church will have both saints and sinners until the end of the age. It is only at the end that Jesus will separate the wicked from the righteous.
Jesus is not only asking us if we understand his parables, but he is also asking us if we understand his approach to ministry. Jesus is known for associating with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus does not exclude or condemn: “Woman…has no one condemned you…Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” (John 8:10-11). This is Jesus’ new way or new approach to ministry. He does not do away with the old way of prophetic confrontation and challenge, but his new way takes precedent: “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 places the new before the old.
Do we understand and follow this new way of Jesus? Do we welcome all or are we quick to judge and condemn? Do we too often follow the old way of prophetic confrontation and challenge as a church, as a parish, or as individuals? You and I are called today to hear and pray over these words of Jesus who calls us to be a scribe…instructed in the Kingdom of heaven…who brings out both the new and the old.” The new way of Jesus must always guide and interpret the old way. Love comes before condemnation. Forgiveness comes before exclusion.