Are you a good fish, or a bad fish? If you ever spend much time watching various reality shows, like the one about the crab fishermen or the one where they go after all kinds of fish, you see either at the end of the day or after they bring the nets up, the crew will go through the catch and separate the good fish from the bad fish. They throw the bad fish back into the water. Just like what we read in Matthew 13:47 – 53 where Jesus tells a parable to his followers.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.
The lesson here should be pretty obvious, at the end of the age, the net will be cast and God will make a judgement as to who goes to heaven, and who doesn’t. We will all be put in one or the other categories, or as Jesus says, into one of the vessels or back into the sea. There is no middle, well unless you count what we Catholics believe, and that is the concept of Purgatory. If you want to learn more about what Catholics believe about purgatory, go to this page on Catholic Answers. But after you spend your time in Purgatory, you will go to your final destination.
I have to believe that many of us never think about things like this. We don’t worry about what will happen to us after we leave this earth, I know I never did until a few years ago. Whether we don’t truly believe or just don’t care, we live our lives for the “now” and never concern ourselves with “later”. We don’t care about each other, unless it benefits us. I know, this isn’t everyone, but certainly a good portion of us.
We should all spend time to contemplate where we are going to end up after we die. Are we going with the good fish or the bad fish? If you don’t believe in an afterlife, perhaps you need to give it some serious thought.
When I fell off the truck and began thinking about death and what happens to us, I came across Pascal’s Wager. Pacal was a skeptic and philosopher who proposed that it would be a safer bet to bet on God’s existence and be wrong then to bet on his non-existence and be wrong. If you live life with the intention of going to heaven, making good decisions and following the teachings of God, and you are right and there is a heaven, you will get there. If you bet wrong, then you still have lived a good life. If you bet there is no God and live for today, not worrying about whether you will go to heaven or hell, and are wrong, you will be spending eternity in a very unpleasant place. (An article by Peter Kreeft on Pascal’s Wager here)
I know which wager I am taking, I’ll be shooting for the pile of good fish.
Christianity for Modern Pagans: Pascal’s Pensees
The Divine Comedy: Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso (Everyman’s Library)
The Seven Storey Mountain