February 6, 2022
“Who will I send? And who will go for us? I answered: “Here I am, send me.”
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
and that he was buried and that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.
Jesus said to Simon: “Put out into the deep, and cast your nets for the catch.”
Reading of the Prophet Isaiah 6, 1-2a. 3-8
In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne: the hem of his mantle filled the temple.
Next to him were the seraphim, and they shouted to each other saying:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of the universe, full is the earth of his glory!”
Doorposts and doorways trembled at the clamor of his voice, and the temple was filled with smoke.
I said, “Woe is me, I am lost! I, a man with impure lips, who live among people with impure lips, have seen with my eyes the King, Lord of the universe.
One of the beings of fire flew towards me with an ember in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs; he applied it to my mouth and told me:
“When this touches your lips, your guilt has disappeared, your sin is forgiven.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, which said:
“Who will I send? And who will go for us?
“Here I am, send me.”
Salt 137, 1-2a, 2bc-3. 4-5 7c-8
R. Before the angels I will sing for you, Lord.
I thank you, Lord, with all my heart, because you heard the words of my mouth;
before the angels I will sing for you; I will prostrate towards your sanctuary. R/.
I will give thanks to your name: for your mercy and your loyalty,
because your promise exceeds your fame.
When I invoked you, you listened to me, you increased the value in my soul. R/.
May the kings of the earth give you thanks, when they hear the oracle of your mouth;
sing the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great. R/.
Your right saves me. The Lord will complete his favors with me.
Lord, your mercy is eternal, do not abandon the work of your hands. R/.
Reading of the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 15, 1-11
I remind you, brothers, of the Gospel that I announced to you and that you accepted, on which you are also founded, and that is saving you, if you keep to the word that we announce to you; otherwise they believed in vain.
Because I transmitted to you in the first place, what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried and that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas and later to the Twelve; later he appeared to more than five hundred brothers together, most of whom are still alive, others have died; then he appeared to Santiago, later to all the apostles; finally, like an abortion, he also appeared to me.
Because I am the least of the apostles and I am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I have persecuted the Church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not failed me. Rather, I have worked more than all of them. Although it was not me, but the grace of God with me. As well; both I and they preached so, and so you believed.
Reading of the holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 5, 1-11
At that time, people crowded around Jesus to hear the word of God. As he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, he saw two boats standing on the shore; the fishermen, who had landed, were washing their nets.
Climbing into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to push it aside a little bit of land. From the boat, sitting down, he taught the people.
When he finished speaking, he said to Simon:
“Pull out to sea, and cast your nets for the catch.”
Simon answered and said:
“Master, we have been struggling all night and we have not collected anything; but at your word I will lower the nets.”
And, put to work, they made such a large catch of fish that the nets began to burst. Then they made signs to their companions, who were in the other boat, to come and give them a hand. They came and filled the two boats, to the point that they almost sank. Seeing this, Simon Peter fell at the feet of Jesus saying:
“Lord, depart from me, for I am a sinful man.”
And it is that stupor had taken hold of him and those who were with him, because of the haul of fish they had collected; and the same thing happened to James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were companions of Simon.
And Jesus said to Simon:
“Do not worry; From now on you will be fishers of men.”
So they brought the boats ashore and, leaving everything, followed him.
In past Sundays we have contemplated Christ as the Word of God made flesh, as the Prophet of the Father, as the Son called and sent to make known to us the love and mercy of God for all, to fulfill the divine promise. Today, like every Sunday, we look to Christ as the one who continues to speak to us and accompany us on the path of life, feeding us with his Body and Blood in the Eucharist, enlightening us with the Truth, filling us with his Love. The living Christ also looks at us He contemplates us with the love of a brother and calls us to leave everything for him, to be his missionary disciples, baptized and sent to build the Kingdom of God.
In today’s Word of God we find some keys on discipleship and the following of Christ that are worth unraveling and meditating on. They are like progressive steps, or sometimes simultaneous, that any Christian must take in the process of personal dedication to the Lord and growth in faith within the Church.
The first of these is to stop to admire and contemplate the glory and power of God, allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed and overwhelmed by all its immensity. So many times the hustle and bustle of life, the immediacy of everyday life, the urgency of the tasks that occupy us all the time, do not allow us to raise our eyes to the universe to see and feel God. Isaiah was overwhelmed by the glory of God. Paul experienced his mysterious presence on the road to Damascus falling on his face. Peter, in today’s Gospel, comes face to face with the power of Jesus who teaches him to do better what he had always done: fish in the Lake of Genesaret. So many times God wants to show us his presence and his power in our lives, and we, trapped in the net of the ordinary, do not see or feel it. We need more silence, more contemplation, more capacity for admiration to discover Christ by our side.
Secondly, there is always the recognition of our smallness in the face of the greatness of God, acceptance of our limits, shame for our sins. The same thing happens to Isaiah who says: “Woe is me, I am lost! I, a man with impure lips, who live among people with impure lips, have seen with my eyes the King, Lord of the universe. Paul considers himself as an abortion to which Jesus appeared; he calls himself “the least of the apostles and I am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I have persecuted the Church of God.” Peter, who would surely have argued with Jesus about the way and the opportunity to go out fishing again, although he finally obeyed, threw himself at the Master’s feet saying: “Lord, get away from me, for I am a sinful man”.
True, we are men and women with impure lips in the midst of people who curse and deny; we are not worthy to call ourselves apostles because we have been persecutors of the Church every time we have stained her with our sins or have destroyed her with our tongue; we are sinners who obey grudgingly or by compromise. But God has noticed us as in Isaiah and purifies and strengthens us: “Your guilt has disappeared, your sin is forgiven.” Jesus has looked at us with love like Paul and has provoked in us the desire for conversion; He has invited us like Peter to row out into the deep, without fear, trusting in his word.
The third step is listening attentively and obediently to God’s call. In prayer, in silence, so many times the Lord repeats to us the same thing that he said to Isaiah: “Who will I send? And who will go for us? Paul, at the moment of his conversion, felt called to embark on a new path in his life, to take a different direction than the one he had followed until then. Peter also felt the call of Jesus to exchange his boats and his nets for a new task and mission. Jesus said to Simon: “Do not be afraid; From now on you will be fishers of men.”
To what task or mission is the Lord calling me at the present moment, in the current situation of my life? What direction do you want my steps to take? We need prayerful, attentive and obedient listening. Intuition is not enough. It is not about taste, much less about calculated and selfish interests. My vocation starts from God, it is his initiative, and I will discover it in prayer, in silence, in the mysterious presence of the One who loved me first.
The fourth step is the response to the call, the unconditional and progressive following of the disciple. Isaiah’s response to God’s claim is: “Here I am, send me.” Peter and the other apostles in today’s gospel pulled their boats ashore and, leaving everything behind, followed him. Paul, once he met Christ, decided that his life would be entirely for Him… “It is no longer me, it is Christ who lives in me.” “For me, life is Christ”… the apostle of the gentiles will say.
Indeed, following Christ implies leaving everything for Him, making Him the center of our lives; and row out into the deep between storms and solitudes trusting only in Him, continue casting the nets in his name, make our lives a gift for others, tirelessly preach the Gospel with our own lives and also with our words, tell everyone that Christ has died for our sins and he has defeated death, once and for all, rising gloriously. Nothing and no one can separate us from his love. Only He has words of eternal life. Also today, to you as to Peter, he tells you: “Do not be afraid”.
In your hands, oh God, I abandon myself.
Model this clay, as the potter does with clay.
Shape it, and then, if you want, rip it to shreds.
Send, order. What do you want me to do? What do you want me not to do?
Praised and humiliated, persecuted, misunderstood and slandered, consoled, pained, useless for everything, I can only say following the example of your Mother:
“Let it be to me according to your word”.
Give me the love par excellence, the love of the Cross;
not a heroic cross, that could satisfy my pride;
but those humble and vulgar crosses, which I wear with repugnance.
The ones I find every day in contradiction, in oblivion, in failure,
in false judgments and indifference, in the rejection and contempt of others,
in discomfort and illness, in intellectual limitations
and in the aridity, in the silence of the heart.
Only then will You know that I love You, even if I don’t know it myself.
But that’s enough. Amen
(Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga, Meeting 31)