Saturday, February 06, 2016

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year C - 2016

Today is one of those Sundays when there is a clear thread or theme  through all three readings.

Isaiah was a simple temple priest, he was skilled in assisting in the temple.

It was a comfortable life.
He knew what he was supposed to do and how he was supposed to do it.

Then one day somehow he found himself in the very presence of God.

And as he gazed on the awesome power and love of God he came to understand his own sinfulness.

And he exclaimed, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips.”

And yet God still called him Isaiah responded  “Here I am send me.”

Isaiah left his comfortable life in the temple and became one of the greatest Old Testament Prophets who ceaselessly proclaimed the God’s Word.

The scholars tell us that Isaiah was so respected that parts of the book attributed to him in the Old Testament weren’t even written by him.

The authors of those chapters prefered to give him the credit because they felt their work would be more respected if people thought that Isaiah wrote it.

St. Paul the patron of our Church was a very faithful Jew, a Pharisee, radical in his observance of the law.

He was so radical infact that he made it his mission to persecute  the early church because he was afraid that the followers of Jesus  were watering down the covenant.

Like Isaiah one day on the road to Damascus Paul encountered the light of God’s love. The moment was so strong he fell of his horse.

Paul recognized that much of what he had dedicated his life to was wrong.

In the second reading today we heard him say.
“I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”  and he was probably right.

Yet God called him and because of his skills and talents he was able to proclaim the message of the Gospel to the world outside of Israel.

Without Paul the early church may have remained a small sect of Judaism.

Finally in Gospel today we encounter Peter.
Peter had a good heart though he was more than a little rough around the edges.

Sometimes Peter got it right other times he completely he got it wrong.

On one occasion in same conversation Jesus said to Peter... Blest are you Simon son of Jonah and a couple sentences later he said to Peter get behind me Satan. Peter was indeed rough around the edges.

Then one day after fishing all night he and his men were cleaning up.
Jesus asked him to put out into deep water.

Even though it made no sense. even though they were exhausted,
Peter took a risk and agreed.

When he saw  the abundance of fish they caught he knew had seen a miracle.

He knew he was in the presence of someone holy.

His first response to that miraculous moment  was simple to say
“Depart from me Lord for I am a sinful man
and he probably knew what he was talking about.

Yet Jesus called him  and made him the first chief shepherd of the Church and Jesus even gave him the keys to the kingdom.

And Jesus did all of these things knowing that Peter would eventually deny him three times.

Three men all sinners all unworthy,
Isaiah the comfortable temple priest,
Paul the proud and arrogant Pharisee,
Peter the strong impetuous man who often spoke and acted before he thought.

All of them were called by God
All of them did great things
All of them played a key role in the proclamation of God’s Word to the world.

Yes God does call sinners…
He called me and I’m not the only sinner in this Church
He also calls you

Today’s readings show us how God can make use of the most unlikely people to fulfil the divine purpose.

But like Isaiah, Paul and Peter we have to be willing and courageous to say yes.

Even when it means we leave our comfortable life like Isaiah,
even when we have to admit that everything we’ve done up to know has been wrong like Paul,
even when we know that we are sinners like Peter.

The question remains when God calls will we answer?

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