Today Jesus finishes up His Kingdom parables (Mt 13:47-53). He likens the Kingdom to a dragnet that picks up all sorts of things, useful and useless, from the sea. At the end of time, the good will be gathered up, the wicked will be discarded into the fiery furnace. He asks His disciples if they understand, they answer in the affirmative, and He tells them they can now bring out the old and the new. Then He went away from that place. The question of understanding is an important one, one that we should ask regularly when reading Scripture and studying Church teaching. We are fortunate to have a church, founded by Christ and guaranteed the Holy Spirit, which is an utterly reliable source of the truth. Have recourse to it through the Catechism, knowledgeable preachers and teachers, and approved books on theology. Of course, underpinning this must be the Holy Spirit. One of His seven gifts is that of understanding (Is 11:2). Fr. Hardon writes that understanding is “intimate knowledge that penetrates to the essence of that which is known” (from his Modern Catholic Dictionary). Let us pray that intimate knowledge of the Word penetrates to the core of our being so that our every thought, word, and deed conforms to Jesus.