Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism


Matthew 13:9 "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."


The Draw Net


 

 
Matthew 13:47-50

Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kind of fishes. Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Commentary
By St. John Chryostom

And wherein doth this differ from the parable of the tares? For there too the one are saved the other perish; but there, for choosing of wicked doctrines; and those before this again, for not giving heed to His sayings, but these for wickedness of life; who are the most wretched of all, having attained to His knowledge, and being caught, but not even so capable of being saved.

Yet surely He saith elsewhere, that the shepherd Himself separates them, but here He saith the angels do this; and so with respect to the tares. How then is it? At one time He discourses to them in a way more suited to their dullness, at another time in a higher strain.

And this parable He interprets without so much as being asked, but of His own motion He explained it by one part of it, and increased their awe. For lest, on being told, "They cast the bad away," thou shouldest suppose that ruin to be without danger; by His interpretation He signified the punishment, saying, "They will cast them into the furnace." And He declared the gnashing of teeth, and the anguish, that it is unspeakable.

Seest thou how many are the ways of destruction? By the rock, by the thorns, by the wayside, by the tares, by the net. Not without reason therefore did He say, "Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go away by it."

 
Commentary from
the Catholic Encyclopedia

The draw net completes the sevenfold teaching in the first Gospel. The order was chosen by St. Matthew; and if we accept the mystic signification of the number "seven", i.e., "perfection", we shall perceive in this parable not a repetition, as Maldonatus held, of the tares, but its crown.

In the tares separation of good and bad is put off; here it is accomplished. St. Augustine composed a kind of ballad for the people against the Donatist schismatics which expresses the doctrine clearly, "seculi finis est littus, tunc est tempus separare" (see Enarr. in Ps., lxiv, 6).

The net is a sweeping net, Lat. verriculum, or a seine, which of necessity captures all sorts, and requires to be hauled on shore and the division made. For the Jews, in particular, the clean must be taken and the unclean cast away. Since it is distinctly stated that within the net are both good and bad, this implies a visible and a mixed congregation until the Lord comes with His angels to judgment (Matthew 13:41; Apocalypse 14:18). The Evangelist...has understood this parable, like the others quoted, allegorically, and Christ is the Fisher of men.

Clement of Alexandria perhaps wrote the well-known Orphic hymn which contains a similar appellation. The "fiery furnace", the "tears and the gnashing of teeth", going beyond the figures in the story, belong to its meaning and to Christian dogma.

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