Homily Fifth Sunday Year C The call

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Homily Fifth Sunday Year C

 

Reading 1: Last Sunday we heard the call of Jeremiah to be a prophet. In today’s readings we heard the call of Isaiah, Paul and Peter. Like Jeremiah, Isaiah experiences through a vision God’s call to be a prophet. Isaiah sees the glory of God and hears the song of the angels crying out “Holy, Holy, Holy!” His first response was the acknowledgment of his sinful state.

 

God’s response was to symbolically purify him. Then God shares with him the reason for the vision. Will he accept the role of prophet and go to the Israelites with God’ message? Unlike Jeremiah, Isaiah didn’t hesitate to say “Yes, send me.”

 

Let’s look at the process. Whenever there is an encounter with the Divine, there is always a feeling of unworthiness on the side of the human. Isaiah experienced this unworthiness and considered himself doomed and lost for encountering the Divine. But God’s purpose is to prepare him for a greater mission and purpose.

 

If we have had an encounter with God, maybe not as dramatic as Isaiah, we have also experienced our unworthiness. But what God is seeking from us is the readiness response to him like Isaiah: to do the will of God no matter the cost. Like other prophets, Isaiah suffered mainly because he spoke the Word of God yet the people did not receive it nor respond to it. In spite of that, he continued to speak the Word of God.

 

Reading 2: St Paul discusses the mission he received from Christ to be an Apostle to the nations. Paul’s encounter with the Divine took place on his way to Damascus to persecute the followers of Christ. Years later, as he looked back on that event, Paul experienced the same unworthiness and considered himself unfit to be called an Apostle. But by God’s grace he was. It was the same grace/favor of God that called Isaiah, Peter, Andrew, James and John. Paul was a zealot in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which has the power to save.

 

It is the grace of God that has saved us through Jesus’ death and resurrection and calls us to follow him in spite of our sinfulness. What are we called to be and do? We are called to be disciple/witnesses who preach by our words and life the good news of God’s love and mercy.

 

Gospel: We have here the call of the first disciples by Jesus. Jesus encounters Peter, Andrew, James and John. He has already met Andrew and John at the Jordan after being baptized. He has already met Peter, who was brought to Jesus by Andrew. However, those encounters did not galvanized them as disciples.

 

It is this event of the miraculous catch of fish that became the tipping point for them. They had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. So you can imagine the initial hesitation but eventual agreement of Peter to be obedient to Jesus when he said to put out into the deep. Was he just humoring Jesus who is not a fisherman? Expert fishermen knew you don’t expect to catch much around noon.

 

But when they lowered their nets at the spot Jesus indicated and caught the enormous amount of fish, they were overwhelmed. Peter’s disbelief turned into astonishment and then to unworthiness. But Jesus’ response is the same as God’s to Isaiah. As God called Isaiah to be his prophet in spite of his sinfulness, Jesus invites Peter and the others to be his disciples. “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Like Isaiah, they left everything to follow him.

 

Today’s Gospel marks the official beginning point in the relationship between Jesus and Peter. This is also the beginning of the leadership role that Peter will have within the community of disciples. Peter was chosen for this role.

 

God encounters us not just once but at different times but the process is always the same. We experience something beyond us; we recognize our sinfulness; we are called to repent and be open to the more God wants to reveal. These encounters have a twofold purpose: greater intimacy and growth in holiness in order to have a more effective ministry.

 

  

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