February 10, 2019 — Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
IS 6: 1-2A, 3-8; PS 138: 1-5, 7-8; 1 COR 15:1-11 or 1 COR 15:3-8, 11; LK 5: 1-11
Our readings today remind us of the great privilege we have in calling ourselves children and disciples of the Most High God.
The First Reading from Isaiah describes a vision of the prophet in which angels surround the Lord. They proclaim, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!” Our God invites us to such deep intimacy and friendship with Him that we sometimes can forget just how majestic and unspeakably holy He truly is.
While we can approach Him with the confidence of a child before his father, we must also remember the deep reverence and awe that we owe to Him.
This sense of awe and reverence should motivate us to deepen our stewardship way of life as well. As we contemplate the holiness of God, we come to a heightened awareness of what a privilege it is that He has chosen to include us in His work of spreading the Gospel to others through the grateful sharing of the gifts He has given us. We can make the words of the prophet Isaiah our own: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send” Who will go for us? Here I am, I said, send me!”
The theme of awe before God continues in the Gospel passage from Luke, where we again see the juxtaposition of a God who is so near to us, yet who is altogether holy and powerful. In this passage we find Jesus preaching to a crowd who is pressing in on Him to listen. (What an inspiring image! Do we “press in” as we listen to the readings proclaimed in Mass with this same sense of wonder and urgency?) In response, Jesus uses very ordinary means so that the crowd can hear Him. He simply gets into one of the nearby boats belonging to Simon so that His voice will better carry over the water. He finishes speaking and then tells Simon the fisherman to lower his nets for a catch. Simon is skeptical about this instruction but obeys, putting his fishing talents to use as Jesus asks.
The result is a catch of fish beyond Simon’s wildest imaginings. Overwhelmed, he fell at Jesus’ knees, “for astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him.”
When we truly embrace a stewardship way of life, putting our talents, time and treasure at the service of the most High God, we, too, will be astonished at what God will do. Our lives may take a direction beyond our wildest imaginings.
But just as Jesus reassured Simon, “Be not afraid,” He reassures us, too. We need not fear a stewardship way of life. Rather, we should embrace the adventure it presents us and prepare to be astonished by what our awesome God will do. “Here I am Lord, send me!”