Homily – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

They left everything and followed him

Someone suggested that what is going to happen if Jesus lets his twelve disciples go to the Selective Board Interview before he accepts them into the major work of bringing the Good News to the whole world.  This could be the outcome.  After having arranged personality interviews for each of them; Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper.  Andrew has no qualities for leadership.  The two brothers, James and John place personal interest above everything else.  Thomas shows a skeptical attitude.  Matthew has been blacklisted by the Taxation Office.  James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, definitely have radical leanings.  One of the candidates however, shows real potential.  He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, and has contacts in high places.  He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible.  We recommend Judas Iscariot.

Having heard that assessment of the Twelve Apostles – gives us hope.  We are each called by the Lord at baptism and confirmation to be his modern disciples.  God calls you to make a difference in the world.  God wants to use us in his plan for the salvation of the world.

Today we celebrate the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Today’s readings are reminding us to reflect on our roles in God’s plan for the world.  All of us are disciples of Jesus Christ regardless of who we are, the kind of work we have, what matters is that we always have a part to play in God’s plan.

Many times we hear people when they are challenged to serve the Church, their immediate reactions are: ‘I am not suitable to become or to serve the Church.’ ‘I am busy now or I have so much work to attend to.’  But who among us is suitable to serve in the Church then? – Nobody!  It is because all of us could be found unsuitable in many ways. 

In today’s three readings, Isaiah, one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament, Peter and Paul, two of the greatest apostles of Jesus in the New Testament, also express their deep inner sense of being unworthy or unsuitable to serve the Lord.  They all have the same conviction, which is shared by all who meet the Lord.

The first reading is on the call of Isaiah but Isaiah says: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips!” (Is 6:5)  In the second reading, Paul feels unfit to be called an apostle, because he persecuted the church of God.  He says: “I am the least of the apostles; in fact, because I persecuted the Church of God. I do not even deserve the name,” (1Cor 15:9).  The gospel, when St. Peter is overwhelmed by Christ’s power when they catch a great number of fish in their nets that have remained empty through a night’s fishing, his humble reaction is the same: Peter said “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man,” (Lk 5:8).

If Isaiah, Paul, and Peter are not worthy to serve the Lord, how much less worthy are we!  Their responses are our responses too; that is to serve and to take on the journey of conversion. That is to accept the invitation or even the challenge that God has placed in front of us.

Jesus says to St. Peter, “Don’t be afraid” so that these few words are assuring Peter with his ongoing blessings on his chosen disciple. We are also chosen people of God in our own capacities, and we are encouraged to leave behind things and follow the Lord according to our circumstances. 

Let us use this Sunday as a time to look deeper into our lives as Peter throughout the net into deeper water. That will be where God will enlighten us to find a way in assisting one another in seeking and understanding God.  

By Fr Trac Nguyen  




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Tony Santospirito

I am often afraid to reach out to people when the opportunity arises. So Jesus’ encouraging Peter “Don’t be afraid” I take to heart.

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