Homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C (2)







Theme: Courage to Obey God!
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas

St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
Homily for Sunday February 6 2022
Lk 5:1-11
Man is a social being. We all want to belong to a group or community. That is why many of us are unwilling to oppose the prevailing standards of our society. There is the natural fear in us to go against the tide of popular opinion and behavior.
But this is not the case with Jesus. He ate and drank with tax collectors and public sinners. He touched lepers. He cured the sick even during the Sabbath. And He publicly criticized the arrogance and hypocrisy of the rich and the powerful of His time. He did not seek the approval of society and the admiration of people. He was just intent on following the will of the heavenly Father even if it meant being ridiculed, ostracized, or persecuted by society. After all, objective truth and rectitude do not depend on the opinion of the majority but are based on the immutable divine principles.
In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus instructs Peter: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch” (Lk 5:4). From the point of view and experience of any seasoned fisherman, like Peter and his companions, this instruction does not make sense. Peter makes his point known: “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing” (Lk 5:5). If during the night they have caught nothing, it would be a waste of time fishing in broad daylight. Secondly, they were using nets. These fishing implements are most effective in shallow waters, but not in the deep. Jesus must be mistaken – He goes against the generally accepted principles and practices of fishing.
Fortunately, Peter quickly cast aside his doubts and questions, and resolved to obey Jesus: “But at your command, I will lower the nets” (Lk 5:5). The proof of true faith is obedience. It is obedience to God’s commands that brings about great results and even miracles. The miracle of the great catch is a clear illustration of this truth that made Peter keenly aware of his own unworthiness: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Lk 5:8).
The world is in disarray because people do not obey God’s teachings. Obedience to God is the key to lasting peace and real prosperity in the world. The Book of Deuteronomy gives this timeless advice: “For this command which I am giving you today is not too wondrous or remote for you… No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it” (Deut 30:11, 14). What is only needed is to follow God, even though it may be contrary to popular opinion. A quotation said: “Don’t put a question mark where God put a period.”
Today, people tend to question God and His teachings instead of just obeying. On July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical “Humanae Vitae.” It is simply a reiteration of the divine truths about the sanctity of human life. But many people, instead of following the teaching, complained and tried to discredit it. Many simply ignored it, branding the Pope and the Catholic Church as outdated. And now, after several decades of widespread contraception since “Humanae Vitae”, we find these distressing results: exponential increase of divorce and cohabitation rates, wide use of contraceptives and millions of abortions worldwide.
We are shocked and frightened by the number of deaths brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest tally is 6 million deaths worldwide. But the report of the Guttmacher Institute should make us shudder to the bones: “Roughly 121 million unintended pregnancies occurred each year between 2015 and 2019. Of these unintended pregnancies, 61% ended in abortion. This translates to 73 million abortions per year.”(Guttmacher Fact Sheet, July 2020).
The culture of death is spreading rapidly and inexorably due to man’s wanton disregard for God’s commandments and teachings. These, indeed, are the times St. Paul referred to when he gave this warning: “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers, and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths” (2 Tim 4:3-4).
We need more bishops and priests and Christian laity who will be true to their prophetic role and courageously proclaim the hard truths of the Gospel and denounce evil at all costs. We need Christians who are willing to get out of their comfort zones to combat evil and wrongdoing. This is what “Put out into deep water” means.
Jesus told Peter: “Do not be afraid.” Let us pray in this Mass that the Lord may give us the courage and strength to obey God’s teachings and commands. Let us pray that we may all have the courage to proclaim with firm conviction and fidelity the truth of Christ’s teachings for the salvation of souls.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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