Saturday, February 6, 2016

Homily [2]5th Sunday of Ordinary Year C: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo

Homily [2]5th Sunday of Ordinary Year C: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
Readings: Isa 6: 1-2a, 3-8; Ps 138:1-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11 and Luke 5:1-11

We Need God’s Grace on Our Missions!

There are many times we work hard, and toil in life –but all seems to be in vain, not appreciated - except for the grace of God that boost our trust in him. This message foregrounds today’s Bible lessons. The grace of God legitimizes our missions!

The Disciples of Christ were toiling and fishing all night in vain, in today’s Gospel reading. With frustration they were washing their net ready to return home. But at the word of Jesus “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch,” they disciples were overwhelmed with success. At the command of Jesus “they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.  The weight of the fish also threatened to sink the boat. In fact, the “sinful Peter” was on his knees. And the rest of the disciples were amazed at the Power of Christ. Soon after that they were called to abandon, their fish, net and even their families to follow Jesus, to be messengers of God, fishers of men and women– which they did! With God everything is possible. Even, the grace to let go certain things in our lives!

In the first reading, the call story of Isaiah is also presented in a very dramatic way! It is like the appearance of God to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exod 19:16-19). Isaiah sees the "otherness" of God, the Holiness of God in his visions. Remember holiness in Hebrew is not a personal quality of piety, but to be separate from others. To be set apart. The God of Israel is holy, holy, holy! He is the holiest- the sovereign of all creations; the ruler of every nation. Even though Isaiah is a man of unclean lips, living among unclean people, the Holy God, Isaiah believes,  cleans his lips and commissions Isaiah to be his messenger of judgment to his people. The authority and the grace of God foregrounds Isaiah’s preaching, in spite of his weaknesses as a man of unclean lips!

Paul found himself in similar situation while preaching to the Corinthian community. In his journeys he met trials and challenges. He knew he was once a sinner. The least expected to be an apostles and agent of God, since he was known as a persecutor of the faith- enemy of the Church of God. But Saint Paul attributes all his successful missions to the grace and power of God: Paul says, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. I have toiled harder than all of them, not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

These readings challenge us to trust God more and more and acknowledge the fact that with God everything is possible. We are challenged in our various vocations and positions in life to always rely on God’s grace, his holiness, no matter our personal weaknesses, uncleanness and talents. This is applicable even to civil workers, factory personnel, priests, religious and ministers of the Gospel.  It is not always about you, our egos. But it is about God! It’s only the divine authority that legitimizes and foregrounds our missions!