Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Isaiah 6:1-2A, 3-8
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11

Responding to the Call

The words of scripture remind us of our own personal call for a change of heart (metanoia) and our response to follow our call to discipleship. Paul states clearly in the second reading that, “I am reminding you, brothers and sisters, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.” Paul knew the Jewish scriptures and the oral words about Jesus, his ministry, death and resurrection. Paul knew the power of those words to change lives and was calling people to do so.

The powerful words of scripture in the first reading are about Isaiah’s call when he heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Isaiah responds with, “Here I am. Send me!” 

The gospel story is even more specific with the invitation of Jesus to Peter to follow him. Peter and his companions spent an unsuccessful night fishing when Jesus joins them on Peter’s boat. He asked to have the boat put out a distance so he could teach the crowds standing along the shoreline. When he finished he told Peter to throw out his net for a catch. Peter, the professional fisherman, tells Jesus that it’s futile since they fished all night with no success, but he obeys Jesus’ order and soon finds his net close to breaking because of the large number of fish. He calls his partners (James, and John) to help him to the point that both boats are filled to almost sinking. They were astonished at what had just happened. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”  When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

All three of the readings for today tell us about the call of God to carry out a specific mission. Isaiah becomes a prophet. Paul becomes a preacher of the word and knows the power of those words. Peter, James and John become disciples who carry on the mission of Jesus with him and after his death and resurrection.

St. Francis DeSales once said, “We all have a vocation. We believe that God has placed us in this life to fill a special need that no one else can accomplish.” What is your purpose in life? How have you responded to God’s call in your life? Have the words of scripture been internalized in you or are they I vain?

It was not just in the past that people were called by God, but in our own time, each and every day, you and I are called to live in such a way that the mission of Jesus to teach, preach and heal are alive and well through our words and actions.

We might be willing to admit that sometimes we have become so absorbed with self and the external realities of our world and its daily distractions that we have lost our interior communion with God, the God who speaks to our hearts calling us daily. When we spend time with God in the solitude and silence of our interior being we can hear and discern what God calls us to do.

We may be called to respond in a variety of ways. it could be to help a person in need, to forgive a family member of friend, to volunteer for some social or religious agency, to preach, teach, heal or pray for others. The choice is ours. St. Paul reminds us not to let the words of scripture be in vain.

“We will never discover the special, personal calling that God has in mind for us if we remain enclosed in ourselves, in our usual way of doing things, in the apathy of those who fritter away their lives in their own little world,” – Pope Francis

How well have you read, listened to, and absorbed the words of scripture into your personal life?

In what way can you respond to a personal call to continue the mission of Jesus?

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