Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Little Something Extra...Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Here I Am 

“Here I am,” cries the prophet Isaiah. “Send me!” 

But not at first. 

Seeing a vision of God in the Temple, Isaiah is terrified. Hearing the praises of the seraphim, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts! All the earth is filled with His glory!”, he trembles in fear. Feeling the building shake around him, he cowers. 

“Woe is me,” Isaiah laments, “I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” He believes that he will surely die. 

Then a seraphim approaches him, holding a burning ember taken from the altar. He touches Isaiah's mouth and says, “See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.” 

Now Isaiah is ready to accept his mission. He hears the Lord asking, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” 

“Here I am,” Isaiah cries in response. “Send me!” 

Do you need to be purified from any sin before you can fulfill your mission for God? Are you ready to say “Here I am. Send me!”? 

“Here I am,” cries the apostle Paul. “Send me!” 

But not at first. 

Paul, when he was still Saul, had persecuted the early Church. He had hunted down Christians with a murderous vengeance. But then Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus, changing his mind, his heart, and his whole life. 

Purified by blindness and filled with God's sanctifying grace by Baptism, Paul is a new person. He is ready to spread the Gospel. He is ready for his mission to Jew and Gentile alike. 

“Here I am,” cries the apostle Paul. “Send me!” 

What role do trials play in your life? How is God's grace working in you? 

“Here I am,” cries the apostle Peter. “Send me!” 

But not at first. 

Peter is just a lowly fisherman, exhausted from an unprofitable night of fishing. Then Jesus gets into his boat and asks him to put out a short distance from shore. Peter does. He listens as Jesus teaches the crowds. When Jesus finishes, Peter probably hopes to head back to shore and take a nice, long nap. Instead, Jesus tells him, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” 

Does Peter sigh when he hears this? “Master,” he says, “we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at Your command I will lower the nets.” He does, and a miracle happens. 

Peter's boat is nearly swamped with fish. His nets begin to tear, and he has to call his partners to help him. Astonished and fearful, he drops to his knees before Jesus, bows his head, and says, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” 

Jesus replies, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 

Peter swallows his fear. He's ready to follow Jesus. 

“Here I am,” cries the apostle Peter. “Send me!” 

Have you ever been afraid of how Jesus is working in your life? Are you ready to follow Jesus in His mission of catching people?

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