Homily For 5th Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year C

The Lord Sanctifies and Makes Us Worthy

Readings: 1st: Is 6:1-8; Ps: 137; 2nd: I Cor 15:1-11; Gos: Lk 5:1-11

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.   

Last Sunday, the church reminded us that we are privileged to be God’s instruments. Today, she reminds us that though we are utterly unworthy of this call, Christ makes us worthy Missionaries, if only we can say: “Here I am, Lord Send me.”

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One thing is common to all our readings today. This is the feeling and expression of unworthiness by Isaiah, Paul and Peter. Truly speaking, being humans, they were not worthy of God’s mission. Surely, none is as holy and worthy (Rom 3:10-11).

This feeling of unworthiness was a sign of the humility of Isaiah, who confessed: “I am a man of unclean lips,” of Paul who admitted: “I am the least of the apostles (1 Cor 15:9),” and of Peter, who pleaded: “Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8).

They all acknowledged their unworthiness before God, and that they were not worthy to be His instrument. Their humility was a sign that they needed God’s grace in order to succeed. Of course, God knew this, because He is the one that calls and sanctifies one for his mission.

In today’s gospel, Christ called Peter to follow Him. How could Peter, an experienced fisherman who could not catch any fish throughout the night be fisher of men? Men, the most difficult of all the species created by God. Of course, Christ knew he was not worthy, yet He chose him and made him worthy for His mission.

Our first lesson today is that, it is the grace of God that sustains those whom he calls. Hence, He sanctifies and justifies those whom he called (Rom 8:30). Our experience is important, but not sufficient for God’s mission. But His grace is sufficient for us (2 Cor 12:9).

At times we feel like Isaiah, Paul or Peter. We feel so unworthy of our call that we can hardly do anything. Truly, we should feel that way because like them, we are humans. However, we should realize that, it is God who calls, sanctifies and makes us worthy instruments.

The second important lesson is that, there would always be millions of reason and excuses in order to avoid God’s call and will. Last week, Jeremiah complained, “Lord, I am still too young for this” (Jer 1:6). Today, Isaiah lamented: “I am a man of unclean leaps.”

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So, there would always be excuses, in order not to help the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the homeless, visit the sick and even bury the dead. There are any excuses in order not to do the right thing: I am incapacitated, I have too little to give, I can do nothing. I am very busy and I do not have time.

Sadly, there are also many seemingly good excuses for not attending Mass or praying, for not going to confession, and for not visiting the Blessed Sacrament. There would always be excuses for not attending to my wife, my husband, my children, my family and my neighbors. Too many excuses! However, no excuse is enough for not doing the will of God, or the right thing in life.

Finally, all we need to do is: Kill that excuse! Be docile to the Holy Spirit because, he makes those available worthy and capable for God’s mission. Like Isaiah, if only we can say: “Here I am, Lord send me.” Then, Christ will make us “fishers of men.”

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!

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