FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C
6th February 2022
Isaiah 6:1-2,3-8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11.
The Luke’s version of the calling of the first disciples reveals how sin can be an obstacle in our way of working for God. Simon was quick to remind Jesus that he will pay out the nets even though they worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But the miraculous sign of the huge catch, convicted Simon of his sinful life. He said to Jesus, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ It became obvious to him that he does not deserve this miracle due to his many sins. A similar encounter is recorded in the first reading between Isaiah and God. When he witnessed the glory of the God in the Temple, he admitted his profound imperfection. He said, ‘What a wretched state I am in! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of Hosts.’ God’s glorious signs have a way of bringing our attention to the sinfulness that blocks our relationship and our willingness to dispose ourselves for his service.
We plunge ourselves into spiritual dryness when we neglect our sinful state. Sin has a way of making us weak in responding to the prompting of our heart. When neglected for a long time, it becomes part of our lifestyle and difficult to erase. The book of revelation tells us that the Lord stands knocking at the door of our hearts waiting to be let in. The confidence to open our hearts depends on how willing we are to remedy the damage sin caused in our lives.
In the second reading, St Paul showed us an example of what to do in similar situation. He began by acknowledging and confessing his sin of persecuting the church. Then he allowed the grace of God to take over his life. According to him, “…since I persecuted the Church of God, I hardly deserve the name apostle; but by God’s grace that is what I am, and the grace that he gave me has not been fruitless. … I, or rather the grace of God that is with me, have worked harder than any of the others…” Paul was unable to distinguish the work of grace and his abilities because he opened himself without reservation. Also when Simon confessed his sinfulness, the Lord promised him, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ There is no limit to what the grace of God will achieve in and through us if only we open up to it. The lives of prophet Isaiah, apostle Peter and Paul serve as good examples.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.