Sunday, February 7, 2016

Isaiah 6:1-2A, 3-8, Psalm 138:1-8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Luke 5:1-11


Isaiah 6:1-2A, 3-8, Psalm 138:1-8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Luke 5:1-11

Isaiah 6:1-2A, 3-8

My Beloved, I too along with Isaiah and so many countless women and men before me in response to Your question, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Answer, “Here I am. Send me!” Your beauty, majesty, power and grandeur fill the heavens and the earth and all things tremble in awe as they gaze on You.  We are aware that we are sinners, conceived in sin we are people of unclean lips and yet You invite us to collaborate in the great mission to preach the Good News but before You send us You equip us, You cleans us just as the Seraph cleansed the lips of the prophet. Once more my Beloved I too ask You to touch my lips with the fiery love of Your Holy Spirit so that Love can sear me to my very soul and burn away all that is impure and sinful in me. Then filled with Your great, unending, eternally enduring love I will go in the Name of the Most High and the power of the most Holy Spirit to make You, the Father and the Spirit known and loved wherever I am in perfect accord with You will.
Psalm 138:1-8

My Beloved, along with the psalmist I sing this hymn of praise to You in thanksgiving for You infinite mercy and goodness to me. I worship and adore You. I prostrate myself before Your holy Presence. I thank You for being faithful undeserving though I am. I thank You for the comfort Your Word brings me. Thank You for responding to every prayer, every sigh, every trouble and coming in haste to help me. You strengthen my soul with Your own Body and blood and I am able to battle against the wiles of the enemy because of the grace and power You make available to me in the most holy Sacraments. Thank You for Your unwavering, most loving and tender gaze always upon me. Even in the midst of trouble You are there beside me Your right hand holds me fast lest I stumble and fall. You give me life in the Holy Eucharist. You save me in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and You deliver me from the attacks of the devil. Thank You my Beloved for caring for me and for Your sweet kindness that is sweeter than honey from the rock. I know that You will never forsake me for I am sealed in Your Blood.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

My Beloved, St. Paul tells us clearly what the Good News is that all the Baptized are called to preach – it is the Gospel by which we are all saved if we hold on to it without adding to it or taking anything away from it. This awesome truth has been handed down by the Apostles and passed on from one generation of believers to the next exactly as it was received and this is the Good News that was foretold in Scripture in the Old Testament through the mouth of the prophets that the Son of Man, the Christ, the Anointed One of God would come into the world, die for the sins of all mankind from the first Adam to the last, that  He was buried and rose again on the third day just as the Scripture said. We have first hand accounts from the Apostles that You appeared to them, then to more than 500 brothers and sisters many of whom were still alive at the time that St. Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians and finally he testifies that You my Beloved appeared to him a sinner, a persecutor and murderer of Christians. There is hope for us all. We are all saved through our belief in You my Lord and this is the Good News that must shape our every thought word and deed only then can we be truly effective witnesses in the world.

Luke 5:1-11

“Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”

In this version of Your invitation to Peter to follow You by the evangelist Luke, we have a beautiful narrative of the call unlike Matthew who just gives us the bald invitation made to Peter and his brother, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Luke puts flesh and bones on the entire incident and paints a lovely picture of the entire scene for us. It’s a beautiful warm sunny day You are standing beside the clear blue lake of Genesaret and the crowd is pressing around You listening to the word of God little realizing that the Eternal Word of the Father was teaching and preaching to them. Peter is in his boat, blissfully unaware of the life changing invitation he is about to receive and is busily tending to his nets when You choose to get into one of the two boats at the water’s edge the one belonging to Peter. Perhaps he was listening to You preach and was fascinated at the way You spoke and was even glad that it was his boat You chose. How long was it before You had finished? By this time Peter had forgotten all about his nets as he listened to You.  

Then You made a most astonishing request at least so it must have seemed to Peter when You said to him, “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Peter must have shaken his head as if one coming out of a dream; he was not only bone tired from a night of fruitless fishing but his head was still spinning at all the wonderful things he had just heard You preach and teach.  Had he heard right he must have wondered? Peter was a seasoned fisherman and here was this fascinating preacher telling him to go out into the deep for a catch despite the fact that the fish were not biting just then. How can we interpret Peter’s response? Was it respectful or did he respond as if humoring a child? “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will lower the nets.” We don’t know. What we do know though is that he obeyed and the fruit of his obedience was that they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. They needed help and so they signaled to their partners in the second boat to come and help them. They responded to the request for help, they collaborated and were witness to the miracle of the great catch which the evangelist tells us filled both boats almost to the point of sinking.

The greatness of Peter is seen in his response to what he had just witnessed. He fell at Your knees saying, “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Obedience and humility go together when we are called to serve. You may call us to do things that are seemingly impossible and beyond our capability, experience or understanding yet in humility we trust You and at Your Word we put out into deep water with expectant faith ready for the catch You promise. To all our fears which inhibit us You say, “Do not be afraid.” Once we make the decision to follow You we must leave everything behind without a backward glance and cleave to You.

Lord God, my Beloved Jesus, grant me the grace necessary to follow You as Peter and Paul did and so many after them. Amen.

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