Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time by Fr. Peter Chinnappan
OT V [C] (Feb 10 /2019): Is 6: 1-2a, 3-8; I Cor 15: 1-11; Luke 5:1-11
Introduction: The central theme of today’s readings is God’s call to a person, and the positive response to this call which leads the person to discipleship. As in our own lives, that call has three steps: 1) The revelation of God Himself, or of Jesus’ identity as the One sent from God 2) The recognition and confession of one’s unworthiness and inadequacy to receive this call. 3) The word of reassurance from God, or Jesus, and a call to share in his life-giving mission. Today’s readings tell us that God has His own criteria for selecting people to be prophets and ministers. Presenting the special calls, or vocations, of Isaiah, Paul and Peter as life-changing events, the readings challenge us to examine our own personal calls to conversion and discipleship.
Scripture lessons: Isaiah, in the first reading, and Peter, in today’s gospel, express their unworthiness to be in the presence of God’s great holiness, and Peter and Isaiah both immediately receive their divine calls. Today’s second reading describes the call of another great apostle, Paul, who judges himself to be unworthy of the name or the call as he was a former persecutor of the Christians. It was by giving these three men a strong conviction of their unworthiness and of their need for total dependence on His grace that God prepared them for their missions. The Second Vatican Council teaches that we are all called to ministry by our Baptism into Jesus Christ.
“I don’t think I’ll be there.” Reverend Billy Graham tells of a time early in his ministry when he arrived in a small town to preach a sermon. Wanting to mail a letter, he asked a young boy where the post office was. When the boy had told him, Dr. Graham thanked him and said, “If you’ll come to the Baptist church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to heaven.” “I don’t think I’ll be there,” the boy said. “Why?” Billy Graham asked him. “Because you don’t even know your way to the post office! How can you show me the way to heaven?” Today’s readings tell us about the calls of the prophet Isaiah, Paul, and Peter to God’s ministry.
Life Messages: 1) We need to pray that our encounters with the holiness of God may lead us to recognize our sinfulness. God, who calls us and commissions us for His service, wants us to realize His presence everywhere and in everyone, to repent of our sins and to remain in readiness to speak and act for Him in our life circumstances as He shall direct.
2) We need to teach and practice expressions of reverence for the Lord. We need to express our reverence for God through appropriate bodily gestures. For example, when we come into church we need to show reverence for Jesus’ presence in the tabernacle by making a deep bow or by genuflecting and blessing ourselves with sign of the cross. Then we need to honor Him by listening to the word of God and by actively participating in the liturgy’s prayers and singing. This same sense of reverence can be expressed by keeping the Bible, God’s living word to us, in a prominent place in our homes and by kissing it each time we read from it. True reverence for God naturally leads us to the reverent, respectful love of our neighbors as God dwells in them.
3) Each of us has a unique mission in the Church. Therefore, God has a different call for each of us. Each of us is unique, so each of us has a mission which no one else can fulfill. Let us accomplish this mission by radiating the love, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus and by participating in the various ministries of our parish.