Thursday, July 30 ~ Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Holy Gospel: Matthew 13:47-53 Jesus said to the disciples: “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.
Meditation: Many wonder why Jesus compares a “trained scribe” with a “head of a house who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old” (Matthew 13:52). Why emphasize keeping the old along with the new? Why not replace the old, especially if the new seems to be better or more useful? Wouldn’t a person want to throw away an old pair of shoes and replace them with a new pair – especially if the old pair became well-worn or torn beyond repair? But, who in his right mind would throw away an old precious jewel or some old gold coins simply because they were old and tarnished? After all, precious gems and gold do not lose their value with age; like vintage wine they increase in value. Jesus’ parable of the “old” and the “new” points to the “older covenants” which God made with His people of the Old Testament, beginning with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with Moses on Mount Sinai, and with King David (Psalm 89:3 and Psalm 110:1). Jesus’ parable also points to the “new covenant” which He came to establish through the shedding of his blood on the cross and the anointing of his Holy Spirit who seals the new covenant on the day of Pentecost. Jesus did not come to abolish the Old Covenant but to fulfill it. The Lord calls us to treasure all of His words – all of His commandments, promises, precepts, and teachings (Psalm 119:14,72,127,162). If we maintain our part of the covenant that He established we will not have to worry about the outcome of where the angels will separate us.
Prayer: O God, who made the Bishop Saint Peter Chrysologus an outstanding preacher of your incarnate Word, grant, through his intercession, that we may constantly ponder in our hearts the mysteries of your salvation and faithfully express them in what we do. 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. Amen.
Contemplation: Do you buy into the line “we are a New Testament Church” and therefore ignore the teachings in the Old Testament? There is a profound unity between the Old and New Testaments. Both are divinely inspired by one and the same Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). The Old Testament prepares for the New and the New Testament fulfils the Old – the two shed light on each other. The Old Testament prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ as the redeemer of all who would be saved through His sacrifice on the cross. The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New. That is why Jesus interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures for His disciples and explained, beginning with Moses, how He came to fulfill what was promised and foreshadowed in the Old (Luke 24:27), and that He “did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). That is why we read the Old Testament in the light of Christ’s saving death and resurrection.