Sunday-V-Ordinary Time :C- Is. 6:1-2a, 3-8; 1 Cor. 15:1-11; Lk. 5:1-11
One of the few creatures on earth that can out-jump Michael Jordon is the Impala. This is an African deer with a supercharged spring. It has a vertical leap of over 10 feet and can broad-jump over 30 feet. You would think that the zoos of the world would find it impossible to keep such an animal enclosed. Not so! It’s rather easy. The experts discovered something about the Impala. It will not jump unless it can see where it is going to land. Therefore, a solid wall even 6 feet tall is a sufficient enclosure. — Lots of Christians have the Impala problem. They won’t take a leap of Faith unless they have all the answers in advance about where the leap will take them. But God is looking for some bold believers who, even in the face of the unknown, will leap when the Spirit says leap, will fly when the Spirit says fly, will launch out when the Spirit says launch out — all to the glory of the Lord. Why must we be willing to launch out into the deep with the Lord? Because, our Lord was willing to launch out into the deep for us. Today’s Scripture passages present Isaiah, Paul, and Peter who dared to make a leap of Faith.
In a vision, Isaiah was given to see the glory of God dwelling in the Temple of Jerusalem. Isaiah saw how an angel took a live coal from the fire on the altar, and touched his lips with it. Isaiah understood that by so doing, God was cleansing him of his sins, so as to render him fit to be his messenger. Strengthened by this act of God’s goodness, Isaiah readily offered himself for the work, God was calling him to, saying, “Here I am, send me.”
Acts of the Apostles tells the story of Paul’s call. After his dramatic conversion, Paul dedicated his life for the one who called him. And he exclaimed: for me to live is Christ and death is gain.
The Gospel reading narrates the call of Peter. After a fruitless night’s labor Peter obeys Jesus’ command to lower the net for the catch and he was overwhelmed by the great catch of fish. Jesus changes his name from Simon to Peter and gives him a new mission, to catch men.
The responses of Isaiah, Paul and Peter were surprising. The prophet Isaiah viewed himself as a great sinner among sinners, and unworthy of being in the Divine Presence of Yahweh. Paul, still full of guilt for having persecuted the Christians, viewed himself as being unfit of being called an apostle. And Peter begged Jesus to get away from him because he was a sinful man.
God responded to their feeling of sinfulness by cleansing them of their sins, and by reassuring them of His help at all times. Once reassured by God they went through their task humbly and courageously, enduring innumerable trials, always convinced that God would make up for their weakness.
Today, God is calling us to do His work, regardless of whatever setbacks we may have, to accomplish His intended mission, here in this parish or out in other places. Follow the voice of Jesus’ calling and answer, “Here am I, oh Lord, use me in your service today.”
Each of us has a unique mission in the Church. God has a different call for each of us. Because each of us is unique, each of us has a mission which no one else can fulfill. God will use all of us, and particularly what is unique in us, to bring this mission to fulfillment. Our response must be like that of Isaiah: “Here I am, Lord…send me.” — “I’ll do it. I’ll play my part. I’ll speak to that neighbor, that coworker, that friend, that relative.
It is not true that Christ’s invitation to become “fishers of men” is addressed only to the apostles and their successors (the bishops together with the priests and religious). Every Christian is commissioned to a ministry of love and justice by virtue of his/her Baptism. One of the documents of Vatican II, Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church ), in paragraph no. 31 describes all of us very clearly as, “the faithful who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ’s Body and are placed in the people of God and in their own way share the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ and, to the best of their ability, carry on the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.” In addition to this, Vatican II’s Apostolicam Actuositatem (The Apostolate of the Laity), no. 3 says, “Incorporated into Christ’s Body through Baptism and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit through Confirmation, the laity are assigned to the apostolate by the Lord Himself.” It is even stated that where lay involvement is lacking, “the apostolate of the pastors will frequently be unable to obtain its full effect; where lay responsibility is absent, the Church is incomplete,” (Apostolicam Actousitatem nos. 10, 21, PCP II).
Today let’s recognize our Christian spirituality as one for discipleship, which means making a positive response to God’s call to take his presence to others by reaching out to serve our brothers and sisters.