Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time February 7, 2016
Reading 1 Is 6:1-2a, 3-8
Responsorial Psalm Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8
In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord. Reading 2
Alleluia Mt 4:19
Alleluia, alleluia. Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.
Gospel Lk 5:1-11
Homily— February 6 & 7, 2016
In Isaiah we hear about the Seraphim, an order of angels, crying out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!” This is something we recite or sing at each Mass after we pray the preface and immediately before the Eucharistic Prayer.
It was the middle of the fifth century that Dionysius put forth the following hierarchy of angelic beings: we might look at the wall of our church and imagine them beginning on the top left as the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and angels. We know angels exist but sometimes we do not call them to mind and reflect upon them.
Isaiah has one of the Seraphim touch his mouth with an ember from the altar and he is told that his wickedness is removed, his sin purged. When the Lord asks the question whom should I send Isaiah says “Here I am, send me!”
Are we ready to be sent by the Lord? Would we be more ready to go after we went to confession and asked forgiveness?
In the gospel today a large crowd is pressing in on Jesus. He looks around and seeing a couple of boats he gets into the boat belonging to Simon and asks to be taken a short distance from shore. The water and the distance from the crowd helped to amplify his voice so more could hear him and he taught the people from the boat. When he finished speaking he asked Simon to go out to the deep part of the lake and to lower the nets for a catch of fish. In so many words Simon said the fishing was not good all night and thought this was a useless exercise. When they caught so many fish that both boats were filled to capacity Simon was overwhelmed. This encounter with Jesus leads Simon Peter to see himself as he really is (“I am a sinful man”), and to become what he is not yet: a follower of Jesus participating in his saving mission. Jesus “caught” Peter. He will “catch” us too. All we need to do is heed Jesus’ word.
On Friday night I saw Cordell Pemsl catch the basketball in some difficult situations that I thought would be a turnover. If you watch the Superbowl I expect you will see some remarkable catches of the football. Sometimes receivers are able to catch a football with one hand. It takes concentration and practice to make a good catch. When we spend time studying the Bible and reflecting on God’s Word we can make a truly good “catch”. When Simon Peter made the great catch of fish with James and John they were not content to stay behind with the fish but to become followers of Jesus. They left everything to take up the mission of “catching” human beings. They were told not to be afraid.