Homily Fifth Sunday of Year C- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Isa 6:1-2a, 3-8; Ps 138:1-5, 7-8; 1 Cor 15: 1-11 and Luke 5:1-11
Surrendering our unworthiness upon the Grace of God's Throne
Today’s readings from Isaiah, Paul to Luke reminds of our unworthiness, our brokenness, yet the need for us to always rely upon the grace of God in our missions, and in whatever we called to do.
In the first reading of today there is a marching Assyrian army, marching to engulf Judah. Everybody is panicking looking for what to hold on, including the two successive Kings, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Ahaz wants to put his trust in foreign gods and rely on Assyria for help, rather than the true God of Isreael. When Isaiah was call to take up this difficult mission of convincing and converting Ahaz from idolatry, from Assyria to Trust in God, he thought he was not worthy. He said to himself, “Woe is me, I am doomed!, for I am a man of unclean lips, living among people of unclean lips.”
What is interesting in Isaiah, just like in the case of Jeremiah and other calls in the Bible, is that he finally disposed himself and surrendered himself, including his mouth, to God’s grace. His wickedness removed, his mouth clean, and Isaiah was able to say, “Here I am Lord, send me.”
The story is not different with Paul. In the call and ministry of Paul, beginning from his conversion from Saul to Paul his goal has always been to preach Christ crucified not himself. He acknowledges how bad he was before his conversion and his role in persecuting the Christians. It is only with the special grace God that he was chosen to embark on this special mission of preaching the gospel of Christ. By no means should this make him pompous and arrogant, but he considers himself,” the least of the apostles not even fit to be called an apostle.”
Like the Centurions words, which we repeat at every mass, “Lord I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
Our trust and reliance is on the power of God, the grace of God, the Word of God, and the command of God. In the Gospel narrative today, Simon Peter and other fisher men had professionally toiled all night without catching any fish. But with the grace of God, at the command of Jesus they were able to such a great number of fish that even threaten to tear their nets. This so much touched Peter and his companions that they left everything and followed Jesus, the source grace and everlasting wisdom.
In our present day life’s circumstances ( raising our kids, working hard to pay our bills, visiting the aged, the sick, keeping our vows, reaching out to the poor, preaching the gospel) we can learn from Moses, we can learn from the prophets, Isaiah. We can learn from Paul. We can learn from Simon Peter, to not only acknowledge our unworthiness, our limitedness, our "unclean lipness," our "least apostleness," but our readiness to always rely on God’s grace.
Take for example in the case of illness. When we must have taken our medication, see all our doctors and nurses, consult all our spiritual directors, we always want to finally rely on God’s grace. Or surrender ourselves upon the Grace of God's throne. And be able to say always, “here I am Lord, I am not worthy, and I have tried my very best, but do with me whatever you want.