Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year CLeave a Comment

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The account about the “miraculous catch” in the Sea of Galilee was very popular among early Christians. Several Gospel writers records the episode, but only Luke ends the story with a moving scene that has Simon Peter as the protagonist, a believing disciple and a sinner at the same time.

Peter is a man of faith, seduced by Jesus. Jesus’ words have more power for him than his own experience. Peter knows that no one goes out fishing at noon on the lake, especially if he hasn’t caught anything the night before. But Jesus tells him to do it and Peter completely trusts in him: At your command I will lower the nets.

Peter is, at the same time, is a man with a sincere heart. Surprised by the great catch they have had, he falls at the knees of Jesus and says to him with an admirable spontaneity: Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man. In front of everyone, Peter recognizes his sin and his complete unworthiness to be around Jesus.

Jesus is not frightened that he has a sinful disciple next him. On the contrary, if Peter feels he is a sinner, he can better understand Jesus’ message of forgiveness for everyone and his acceptance of sinners and the undesirables. Do not be afraid; from now on will be catching men. Jesus takes away Peter’s fear of being a sinful disciple and joins him to his mission of bringing together and calling men and women of every condition to enter into God’s saving project.

Why does the Church refuse so much to recognize her sins and to confess her need of conversion? The Church is Jesus Christ’s, but she is not Jesus Christ. It should not be surprising to anyone that there is sin in her. The Church is “holy” because she lives animated by Jesus’ Holy Spirit, but she is sinful because, not infrequently, she resists this Spirit and drifts away from the Gospel. Sin is in believers and in institutions, in the hierarchy and in the people of God, in pastors and in Christian communities. We are all in need of conversion.

It is a very serious matter to get used to hiding the truth, since this impedes us from being committed to the dynamics of conversion and renewal. On the other hand, is not a fragile and vulnerable Church that has the courage to acknowledge her sinfulness truer to the Gospel than an institution that is bent in vain on hiding her wretchedness from the world? Are our communities not more credible when they collaborate with Christ in the task of evangelization, humbly recognizing their sins and committing themselves to a life that is each day more in keeping with the Gospel? Do we not have a lot to learn even today from the great apostle Peter as he recognizes his sinfulness, bowed down before Jesus

February 7, 2016
5th Sunday in O.T (C)
Luke 5, 1-11

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