Homily Feb 6, 2022 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C
How many of us have had the experience of seeing something spectacular or even miraculous, and have though “I could never do that”. Or have had the moment of seeing God’s Glory, whether it be in a beautiful sunset after a summer storm, or the crashing of ocean waves into the shore in the early morning, or in the birth of a child. I have experienced all of these and many more in my short life, and I, like both Isaiah and Peter, have felt extremely small and unworthy to not only see the Glory of God in everyday life, but unworthy to participate in those works. This is where we, as humans, live our lives. In between the Glory of God and the glory that He shows us in our everyday lives.
Isaiah considered himself a man of unclean lips, living in a community of people of unclean lips. This is to say that he knew that his vocabulary was not acceptable to be used or heard in the presence of a Holy God. When we have a vocabulary that is not, how shall we say, acceptable for everyday use, when every other word is a vulgar word, or a word of discouragement, a word of hurt or pain, then we are showing what is in our hearts. I am as guilty of this as anybody else. I am a man of unclean lips, unworthy of service to my community, let alone service to God. But God will touch our lips with an ember of fire to cleanse us.
When we look to the Gospel reading, we see the people WANT to hear the Word of God, they kept pressing Jesus to preach. Just like today, people WANT to hear the Good News that the Word of God proclaims! Even if they seem like they don’t, the secretly crave hearing those words of assurance, those words of hope and of love. Even those who have never heard the teachings of Jesus, long to hear a message of hope and of love.
When we look at the story that is laid out before us in Luke, we see many comparisons to the Church and to ourselves. The boat that Jesus uses to preach from can be seen as the Church. The Early Church Fathers saw this in their reading and understanding of this passage. When Jesus finished his preaching, he told Peter to “put out into the deep and cast your nets for a catch”. Peter, like many of us who work in a particular job for many years, consider ourselves as experts and don’t enjoy having someone tell us to do it a different way. Fishing was done at night in the Sea of Galilee, Peter and his companions had been working all night and had nothing to show for it. But, to please this Rabbi, this teacher, he puts out to the deep and lowers his nets. Surprise!
Peter heard the Good News, but only realized it when he acted on the words of our Lord to put out to the deep and lower his nets. His words are similar to Isaiah’s, “depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Jesus reassures Peter that he will become the man that he was destined to be.
We will be sharing the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in a few moments. The Eucharist is the ember that touches our lips, enters our bodies, and makes us clean in order to serve our families, communities and our world. We say, with the Roman Centurion, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be clean.” Jesus says, “I will make you fishers of men, gathering all to Himself into the Barque of Peter, The Church, His Body.