February 10, 2019
5th Sunday Ordinary Time C
Before receiving Holy Communion, we pray: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” This sense of unworthiness is not uncommon and is felt by Isaiah, Paul and Simon Peter in our three Scripture readings. Isaiah, the great Jewish prophet, in the holy presence of God, cries: “Woe is me, I am doomed!” Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, confesses that “I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” In the Gospel according to St. Luke, Simon Peter, after the great catch of fish, falls at the knees of Jesus and says: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” In humility they dare accept God’s calling and, being aware of their own weakness, they recognize that whatever is given to them to do will be accomplished only by God’s grace. Strange, now being conscious of their human frailty, they become aware of their human dignity as a child of God; confused and confounded, they sense a calling, a new purpose for living.
Something else occurs when we know our limitations and are quickly overwhelmed by the task given to us. We come to realize that we cannot do it alone. Simon Peter (and his brother Andrew) signal to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. Jesus calls Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John to be disciples, to follow him. They become apostles when they are sent on mission to announce the Kingdom of God. This is before there are any bishops, priests or deacons. These offices come later in the church.
St. Paul preaches the Gospel to the Gentiles. After Paul establishes a fledgling community of faith at Corinth, he is compelled to move on to start up new communities. But first he commissions men and women to be leaders as prophets, teachers, healers, those who can get things done, and those who have the gift of speech and interpretation of divine wisdom. St. Paul is not abandoning the church. He frequently writes encouraging them to stay the course and to build on the foundation of faith and the revelation that they have received in Christ.
There is a great joy for me being a priest and pastor. I recognize that I can only continue with God’s grace and with the help of partners in ministry and administration – bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity all working together for the common good. This is not a new model. Collaboration is found in Sacred Scripture and in our Catholic tradition. At baptism we renounce sin, we profess our faith in the resurrection, and we are anointed to announce and to bring God’s salvation to others.
Epiphany Saturday morning, I went out for the News but before I opened the paper, I noticed the stars in the pre-dawn sky. The stars caught my attention. I stopped and lost interest in the paper. Saturday afternoon, I was looking out my garage door and saw three deer running across the parking lot. I lost my train of thought and became more focused on the richness of t... READ MORE
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph They have no “Amber Alert!” When Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus is not with extended family or neighbors, they have no alternative but to break from the safety of the caravan and return to Jerusalem searching for their missing twelve-year-old son. After three days they find Jesus sitting in the temple amid teachers and aski... READ MORE
Christmas Each year at Christmas we are invited to visit Bethlehem like the shepherds. Shepherds are a scruffy and smelly bunch belonging to a low estate with sinners and outcasts. Yet while tending sheep in the fields and keeping night watch, an angel of the Lord appears to them with a startling announcement: “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good new... READ MORE
During Advent we celebrate the coming of Jesus in the past, in the future and in the present. The dimension of time is emphasized but time is always associated with a place. When we remember Jesus coming in the past we think of Bethlehem or today coming to us at Eucharist. We can imagine moments in the day when Jesus comes as we wait in line, as we call someone on the phon... READ MORE
It was a very moving service at the National Cathedral with living Presidents of the U.S.A. and world leaders and dignitaries listening to the words uttered at the funeral of George H. Bush. So many beautiful words were said in song, in prayer, in reading of Sacred Scripture, in homily and in eulogy. “Eulogy” means “good words.” Today in the Gospel according to St.... READ MORE