YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: YOU TOO ARE CALLED FOR A MISSION
BY: Fr. C .C. Aladi.
HOMILY: GOSPEL: LUKE 5:1-11.
My dear people of God, today, the readings remind us that God’s call to a person and the positive response to that call leads the person to discipleship. 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 and responses to conversion and discipleship. Let us be attentive to God and respond positively to His call.
~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.
~Every Christian by virtue of baptism has a special call from God to carry out a specific mission. Just as each one of us is unique so is our mission. We have both individual and collective mission. Each person has a unique imprint to make in the world that no one else can. “ We all have a vocation. We believe that God has placed us in this life to fill a special need that no one else can accomplish.” – St. Francis de Sales
~God chooses each one according to His own criteria for a specific mission. It is personal deception to think your God has not called you to do something. The God who called Isaiah, Paul, Peter etc continues to call people even in our time. The problem with this age is that we have become so absorbed with self and the external realities of the modern world( social media, information bombardment) that we have lost that interior communion with God who speaks to our heart calling us daily. When we relate closely with God in the solitude and silence of interior life then we can hear and discern what He calls us to do.
~What is God’s criteria for calling people to serve and how does one qualify? God does not look at the external features of a person or is He concerned about the qualification or skill. Without favouritism or prejudice, God extends His call equally to everyone. His criteria seem to be His trust that you can do it because He provides whatever is needed to accomplish the mission. But do we respond positively to God’s call? This call may come in different forms; it could be to help a person in need, to forgive a brother or sister, to volunteer for some social or religious service, to preach or to pray for others. In a more general sense, it could be a call to the priesthood, to religious life or marital life.“ We will never discover the special, personal calling that God has in mind for us if we remain enclosed in ourselves, in our usual way of doing things, in the apathy of those who fritter away their lives in their own little world, ” – Pope Francis
~When we examine the lives of Isaiah, Paul and Peter in relation to their response to God’s call, something very remarkable comes to light namely the feeling of personal unworthiness and a willingness to answer the call; This is what qualifies a person to answer God’s call. God chooses what is weak to shame the strong(cf 1Cor1:27). He does not call the qualified but qualifies the called. It is only God’s grace that supplies what is lacking in our ability to answer God’s call hence Paul acknowledged ” I am what I am only by the grace of God”. Proud and haughty people will never submit to God’s call. We need to see ourselves as unworthy children of God and submit ourselves to God so that His grace will lift us up and strengthen us to answer whenever and wherever He asks us to go so that like Isaiah we can say ” Here I am Lord send me”.
~The Church and our world today is going through difficult and tumultuous times. Our world has seized to be conducive because we have lost sight of our missions. Many never answered God’s call, many are still wallowing in ignorance trying to discern who is calling or what they are called for. Worst still many who accepted God’s call, allowed selfish interest to come between them and God. They abandoned the sender, the mission and message entrusted to them and embraced personal mission, preach the personal message and take all the glory for their accomplishments. A mission without God is a failed one. Simon Peter and his fellow fishermen toiled all night at the sea and caught nothing but when Jesus instructed ” Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch “, Simon obeyed and made an unimaginable catch. If we turn back to God and heed to His instructions, our world shall be salvaged from total collapse and disintegration. If we abandon our mission as Christians in search of some personal goals and interests, we shall register little or no success. True success in our call comes with total dependence on God who called us because when we separate ourselves from God we shall not achieve anything. ( cf Jn 15:5)
~In this mass, we pray that God will rekindle in our hearts the passion to answer His call. Like our mother Mary who said a perfect and generous yes to God and cooperated with His grace, like Isaiah, Paul, Peter and all the saints through the ages, who gave themselves totally to God and answered wholeheartedly, we may be open to God who is daily calling us to serve, to love, to holiness, to make a difference in our world. May the holy spirit help us to discern what God wants from us and obey Him in every circumstance without allowing selfish motives to override divine call. Make a difference in your world today don’t wait till tomorrow because you are called to do something unique
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. C .C. Aladi.