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5th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

posted 10 Feb 2019, 10:02 by Our Lady of Fatima Church - White City London   [ updated 10 Feb 2019, 10:02 ]

God calls us to new horizons

There is a strong parallel between today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah and the Gospel from the fifth chapter of Luke. In both we see an ordinary man experiencing the power and presence of God (Isaiah in the Temple and Peter in his fishing boat). Both men’s immediate response is to become painfully aware, in the light of this holiness, of their own sinfulness and unworthiness – “Leave me Lord; I am a sinful man” as Peter says. But God’s response in both cases is to pick the two men up from their knees, and invite them to share in His mission to heal and save the world.

What can we learn from Isaiah and Peter’s experience? Both men ask God to leave them because of the shame & sorrow they carry from their past. Happily, Jesus does not take Peter’s advice to put distance between himself and sinners. Jesus has not come to be a hermit with an unreachable address in the desert! Rather, his whole mission moves in the opposite direction – he travels into people’s lives, not away from them. He entertains sinners, visits their homes and families, eats at their table, listens to their stories, and calls them to a new way of life. Throughout his life Jesus is never far away from sinners. And on the cross he will die between two of them, giving his life to save us and free us.

Jesus wants Peter to share this saving mission with him, so he calls Peter away from his fixation with his own sinfulness and preoccupation with himself. Peter has acknowledged his own unworthiness – that is enough. Jesus now presents Peter with a new image of himself – as a leader chosen to help others know this same forgiveness and to bring them back to God. We are not defined by our sins/weaknesses – when God looks at each of us he sees our future and not just our past. Sinfulness is not a barrier to keep God out – no, it expresses a real need for God to come in. Simon Peter is the first person in Luke’s Gospel to openly confess his sinfulness; he is also the first to be called. If we too can stand in all honesty before God, he can also open for us a whole new horizon.

With best wishes and prayers from Fr Richard, Fr Ephrem and the parish team.