Bulletin: February 6, 2022
Updated: Mar 1
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isn’t it comforting to know that others have struggles with low self-esteem? Today Isaiah calls himself a man with “unclean lips.” Paul is “not fit to be called an apostle.” Simon Peter tells Jesus (perhaps unnecessarily) “I am a sinful man.” All of these may be true, but God chose these three—unclean, unfit, sinful—as important, essential messengers in the work of salvation. We all can remember this whenever we are tempted to view ourselves as unqualified for (or excuse ourselves from) sharing the Good News. Having a low opinion of ourselves isn’t humility. Truth be told, it’s a kind of arrogance to think that God cannot work through us. It’s a good thing to be aware of and honest about our failings or limitations, but we also give glory to God by acknowledging what we are able to do, by sharing the gifts that God has granted us.
RECEIVING THE CALL
All three readings today feature what are known as the “call” stories of famous figures of our faith: Isaiah, Paul, and Simon Peter. Each story shares features common to scriptural “call” stories: First, an encounter with God or a messenger of God. Second, there is some sort of resistance, usually framed as a claim of unworthiness. Third, the one who has been called receives an assurance that they are, indeed, fit for the mission. In this way God has continued to call prophets, apostles, saints, and everyday women and men throughout time. It is unlikely that any of us will receive a “call” as dramatic as fiery angels in the temple, a booming voice from heaven striking us down, or sitting side-by-side in a boat with Jesus of Nazareth. This doesn’t mean we can’t, or won’t, or haven’t received a call from God. It may even be a “spillover” from somebody else’s, the way James and John are called through Jesus giving Simon Peter his mission.
SINFUL MAN, HOLY MAN
We can likely identify with Simon Peter who, in today’s Gospel passage, is really having a bad day at work. When your job is to catch fish, and you’re not catching fish, it’s a bad day. To top it off, he knows he is in the presence of a holy man in the person of this Jesus of Nazareth, who had just commandeered his boat to do some spontaneous preaching. As good as the preaching may have been, it surely didn’t put fish in the nets. So, as he will throughout the gospel, Jesus rectifies the situation. Simon Peter knows he’s not merely in the presence of a holy man, but of holiness itself, and declares his sinfulness. Nevertheless, he is commissioned for the work of the Gospel. No matter how bad our day may be going, or how incompetent we think we are, we are receiving the call. Our role in the story? Listen.
Today’s Readings: Is 6:1–2a, 3–8; Ps 138:1–2, 2–3, 4–5, 7–8; 1 Cor 15:1–11 [3–8, 11]; Lk 5:1–11
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