Sunday, 2/10/2019, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Worthy by Surrender
First Reading Commentary: Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8
Today’s prophecy from Isaiah has strong connections to the Book of Revelation. Take a look at the throne and the four living creatures in Revelation 4:2-11, the One who was worthy to receive the scroll in Revelation 5:9 and the temple filled with smoke in Revelation 15:8.
But in context with today’s overall liturgy, Isaiah’s prophecy is not about what is to come as much as it is about our surrendering ourselves to God. When we do, God will come to us in all of His glory and give us everything that we need.
Have you ever been asked to perform a task which you considered an honor but at the same time, you felt unworthy of that honor? Those of us who believe in God know that it is indeed an honor to be called by God to do something. But none of us are worthy by our own accord! We are worthy because God makes us worthy.
Isaiah had a vision in which he saw the Lord seated on His throne and Seraphim who cried out, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!” Isaiah did not consider himself to be worthy and said, “Woe is me…I am a man of unclean lips.”
But God knows what is in our hearts before we say the words. He knows if we are willing to give ourselves up to Him or if our faith is weak. He knows if we consider ourselves to be unworthy because of our sins for which we are truly sorry. And if this is the case, He washes them away to make us worthy so that we might have the strength to carry out His Will.
That is what happened to Isaiah as one of the seraphim flew to Isaiah and touched his mouth with one of the embers taken with tongs from the altar. Then the seraphim said, “See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”
Was this done so that Isaiah could carry out God’s mission? Yes, but there is more to it. God’s mercy and forgiveness are without limit and the only thing that we have to do to receive it is to admit to our wrong doing with heart felt remorse. Isaiah openly admitted to being a sinner and God saw the remorse in his heart and so, through the seraphim; God cleansed Isaiah.
Take another look at Revelation 5:9. The elders sang, “Worthy are you to receive the scroll…for you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation.”
I always point out the fact that Mary is the Mediatrix of all Grace because Christ, her Son came into this world as a man through her, but don’t get it twisted. Mary is not God so grace does not come from Mary. It comes from God in the person of the Son who is our Mediatrix with the Father.
It is because Christ left our sins on the cross with His Blood that our sins are washed away when we admit to them with remorse.
So, what is the point of all of this? We must make ourselves worthy by surrendering ourselves to God. Be not afraid to admit to our sins and when God calls on us as He called on Isaiah in today’s prophecy, be like Isaiah and say, “Here I am, send me!”
Believe and Choose Eternal Life
Second Reading Commentary: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Today, Paul is telling us that if we believe in the Gospel, we stand by the Gospel and if we stand by the Gospel, we are saved by the Gospel. And, the Gospel is that Christ died for our sins, was buried and was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
Paul is making reference to Isaiah 53:4-12 and Hosea 6:2. Isaiah foretells the Passion of Christ and Hosea foretells of the Resurrection by saying, “He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, to live in his presence.”
Notice the wording in Hosea. He says that we will be revived after two days and that we will be raised up on the third day. To understand Hosea’s prophecy and what Paul is telling us, we have to consider two things.
First, it is not the physical life that is revived and raised for us. It is the spiritual. The physical is only temporary and our lives as we know them here on earth will come to an end. It is our spirit that lives on forever and it is the spirit that is raised into heaven. This is nothing new. It is known and believed by Christians and Non-Christians alike who believe in God and the life after.
But the second consideration is more complex. Christ was raised by the Will of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit. Christians believe in One God—Three persons. Therefore, as the Second Person of the Trinity; Christ raised Himself by His own choosing. This is true because no one person of the Trinity acts alone. When one-person acts, they all act as One.
The choice that Christ made to leave our sins on the cross and Resurrect Himself is the second consideration. We have a choice. We can follow Christ and accept the eternal life that He raises us to or we can reject it and experience a second death on the last day which is eternal damnation.
The choice is ours to make and Paul’s message is that if we truly believe, our choice will be consistent with God’s choice for us and we will experience our resurrection and eternal life in heaven.
Gospel Commentary: Luke 5:1-11
After Jesus had finished teaching from the boat, He told Simon to put out into deep water and lower the nets for a catch. But Simon told Jesus that he and the other fishermen had been out all night and caught nothing. Simon did not doubt Jesus but he did not believe that any fish would be caught. Because Simon accepted Jesus and believed in Him, Simon did as Jesus asked.
Sometimes when we are faced with a hopeless situation, we have doubt which eats away at our faith when we pray. We may have very good reason to doubt based on our human experiences from this physical world that we live in. But if we are going to put the situation into God’s hands and pray for help, we must let go of our doubt.
Take note that with Simon, he did not doubt Jesus. His doubt was in the physical act of catching any fish. So, when we ask God for help, we must believe that He will help us, we must believe that He can help us and we must cast aside all doubt stemming from physical experience. We must have faith in the fact that God can overcome all things and do all things.
So, how do we get rid of doubt? My idea is to do two things. 1- Pray to the Trinity asking the Father to send the Spirit in the name of the Son. When the Spirit fills us with His gifts and we are open to receiving them, they go to work for us and the doubt will go away. 2- Don’t forget that Mary is our mother in heaven and the Mediatrix of all Grace. All grace from God passes through her. Therefore, asking Mary for intercession is always a good thing to do.
When Simon and the disciples had done as Jesus commanded, they caught so many fish that their nets were tearing from the heavy load so they signaled for the other boat to come and help. Both boats were filled and in danger of sinking from the number of fish that were caught.
Simon fell to his knees and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Notice the connection and similarity to Isaiah in today’s first reading. Peter was struck with astonishment as were all of the men with him including James and John. In other words, they were struck with awe of the Lord’s power. The men did not know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit yet but those gifts were at work within them.
And what about that: catch? Our God is an awesome God and His generosity is limitless. God likes to give and sometimes we don’t even have to ask. God gives His best and in abundance. We are truly spoiled.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Right from the beginning, Simon is told by Jesus to have no fear. Jesus was just beginning to assemble His disciples and according to Matthew 5:18-22, Simon, Andrew, James and John were the first four. Little did Simon know that Jesus telling him that he would be catching men would ultimately lead to his becoming the leader of the Apostles and the first pope of the: Church. And, in spite of all of his many mistakes, in the end, Peter was indeed as solid as a rock.
When the boats were brought to shore, they dropped everything and followed Jesus. Let’s look at three of the first disciples mentioned in this gospel who dropped everything. We have Simon (Peter) who is the center of attention in this story for good reason considering the leader that he would become. We have James who is the author of one of the most powerful books in the New Testament and if you have never read it, I suggest that you do. And we have John who is often referred to as the disciple that Jesus loved. John is also the author of one of the four gospels, the only Apostle to remain at the cross when Jesus was crucified and the Apostle who gave us the book of Revelation.
What a trio! None of them were perfect and each of them made their mistakes. We do too! Maybe they went on to achieve such greatness all for the glory of God because they did the one thing that we should all do when God calls. They dropped everything, answered God’s call and surrendered to God’s Will!