Homily for 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

God Chooses & Makes Us Worthy!

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details contact him on:canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com 

A close look at all our readings today reveals one phenomenon common to all of them. This is the feeling and expression of unworthiness of all the subjects (Isaiah, Paul and Peter) towards God’s call and choice of them for His work. Truly speaking, these personalities were not worthy before God going by what scripture tells us that: There is none as holy as the Lord, and there is no one besides him (I Sam. 2, 2). Also, that: our righteousness is like a filthy rag before the Lord (Ish. 64, 6). Of course, any person who grasps this truth and fact of life is already on the path of salvation, because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Pr. 1, 7). This feeling and expression is a mark of a down-to-earth humility on the path of Isaiah who says: I am a man of unclean lips… (Ish. 6, 5); Paul who admitted his unworthiness (I Cor. 15, 9) and finally, Peter who said: leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man. They acknowledged their unworthiness, weakness and vulnerability before God. They acknowledged the fact that by all standards they were not worthy to bear the sacred message of God. Somehow, their humility was an indirect way of drawing God’s attention to the fact that they needed his grace, and blessing in order to succeed. Of course, God knew all these before choosing them, but to this same God, it did not matter whether they were weak or strong. He is the one who calls us, sanctifies and makes us worthy for his work.

In today’s gospel, one question that needs attention is: How can Peter a professional fisherman who in spite of his experiences could not catch any fish throughout the whole night be able to catch men for God? Men who are the most difficult and stubborn of all the species created by God? Of course, of his own accord he was not worthy, but the one who called him knew him better than he knew himself, yet He went for him. He chose him in spite of his unworthiness and made him worthy for the mission. In short, looking at these three figures in today’s readings, the lesson we need to learn is that it is the grace of God that makes us worthy for his mission rather than any special qualities of ours. They only aid us.

At times we feel like Isaiah, Paul or Peter in today’s readings. We feel so unworthy of our call that we can hardly do anything for the sake of the Gospel. Rightly, we should feel so perhaps because of our inadequacies and fear. However, we should realize that it is God who through his grace calls us his sons and daughters, sends us out to work for him and also sustains us in the ministry. Therefore, we are not to be afraid. Rather, we should be docile to the spirit of Jesus Christ and abandon ourselves completely to him for him to make us whole, worthy and useful for spreading the Good News of God’s kingdom. He makes only those who are available worthy and capable for his mission. Let us therefore say like Isaiah Here I am, Lord send me, and Jesus Christ will definitely make us all “fishers of men.”

Peace be with you.

Maranatha!

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