Thoughts on the Readings for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) 2016

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into you browser. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020716.cfm  

There are two scenes in our Gospel this Sunday. In the first scene, we are told that the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and so he got into Simon’s boat and they put out a short distance so that he could continue to teach the crowds.  After he had finished speaking, he told Simon “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”   While Simon initially objected, he did as Jesus suggested and "they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.”   Such must have been the power of Jesus’ words that experienced fishermen took fishing advice from the son of a carpenter.   

The second scene in this Sunday’s Gospel occurs immediately after the miraculous catch of fish.   We are told that Simon Peter “fell at the knees of Jesus and said, ‘Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.’”  In response “Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men.’”   At this point we are told “they left everything and followed him.”  Peter is like many of us.  We often focus on our sinfulness, and fail to realize that God calls us as we are, where we are.  And as importantly, the God, who calls us, also gives us the grace to respond to that call. 

The theme of the Gospel is echoed in our first reading this Sunday from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.  God calls Isaiah, but Isaiah is reluctant:  "For I am a man of unclean lips………”     God, however, sent a Seraphim, holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar.  He touched Isaiah’s lips with the ember and said: “See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”   As in the Gospel the message is clear. God doesn’t send the qualified; rather God qualifies those whom God sends.  

In our second reading this weekend, we continue to read from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.  In the section we read this weekend, Paul reminds the Corinthians (and us) of the Gospel he preached:  “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scripture that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. When have you been invited to trust in God?  
  2. Have you ever felt God calling you to do something for which you did not feel qualified? 
  3. Have you ever allowed a sense of sinfulness to keep you at a distance from God?   
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