•Isaiah 6: 1-2, 3-8; I Corinthians 15: 1-11; Luke 5: 1-11•
Weekly Scripture Readings: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Current science tell us of the Big Bang and Evolution. The first names the initial beginning of the cosmos. The second is the process through which the unfolding of the cosmos continues. If we take these developments seriously they lead us to see, hear and understand in new ways.
The same is true about the gospel. If we take it seriously it transforms us, and our world. The gospel leads us to see, hear and understand everything in new ways.
Last Sunday Luke told us that when Jesus spoke in the Synagogue of Nazareth on the Sabbath, his peers rejected him and threatened him with violence. “After Jesus passed through the midst of them” he went to the city of Capernaum. There he “was teaching” and healing — a man with an unclean spirit, Peter’s mother-in-law, and many others.
Apparently his activity in Capernaum awakened great excitement among the residents. The crowds pestered him so much that he sought solitude outside of the city. They followed him and wanted to prevent him from leaving. That is when he announced, “I also must proclaim the Reign of God to the other cities. I was sent for this purpose.”
Right here at the beginning we see his deep passion for “the Reign of God.” He was driven by a vision of “a new reality.” He was convinced the creative intent of that Gracious Mystery we name God is that a fuller and more secure life be available for all.
Jesus spoke of an already present reality. Even after the resistance and failure he experienced in Nazareth, he remained convinced that God’s power is actively transformative in and among us here and now – today!! He was convinced that a new world is emerging, and while most folks seemed oblivious to it, he was convinced inequality, evil, injustice and death will be no more.
In spite of his conviction and passion, “the world goes on as ever! Nothing has changed!” Many even within the Catholic household of faith, are like the people of Nazareth, resisting and even denying the gospel. Look around you. Read the newspaper or watch TV news. The chief justice and the majority of those on the Supreme Court claim to be “Christian.” Many members of Congress claim to be “Christian.” Several politicians campaigning to be President claim to be “Christian.” I wonder if any of them understand or have even heard about “the Reign of God.”
“I must proclaim the Reign of God!” Immediately after that announcement, Jesus called his first disciples – Simon, James and John. I think if we hear the text metaphorically we hear some interesting things.
Simon Peter is a key figure in the narrative. He was an experienced and successful fisherman. He understood the waters and the fish of the Sea of Galilee. Although his experience, intuition and professional judgment told him it was useless to try, he did as Jesus asked.
Peter changed his behavior patterns. He began to see, hear and understand in new ways. The result was an abundance of blessings. The unexpected and large catch of fish confirms his decision to do what Jesus requested. He then accepted the invitation to follow and imitate Jesus.
The gospel, the good news announced by Jesus is this. “The Reign of God,” “God’s New Reality” is already here. It is emerging in our world wherever there is nonviolence, freedom, peace and compassion. You and I made a decision. We have chosen to imitate, act and speak like Christ. That is why we, like Peter, are among those who see, hear and understand everything in new ways. We name ourselves “church” because we take the gospel seriously. That is why we are intolerant of conflict and violence. That is why we speak on behalf of and in the name of the poor and disadvantaged. So today I remind you again that we are the Living Body of Christ! I thank you and affirm you for the many ways in which the world is more in harmony with that Gracious Mystery we name God, because of you!