FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
FEBRUARY 9-10 2019
“The nearer we draw to God, the more we see ourselves as sinners” said Abbot Martos, an early desert father. When we see ourselves as we really are and let God see us as we are, we are led to an inner freedom: free from blame, shame, and self-accusation. Today we hear about Isaiah, Paul, Peter, and their encounters with the Holy One. In the presence of the Living God, Isaiah knows his own sinfulness. He knows his own story and he knows who he is. He knows what his world is like and, as he is offering incense in the temple, he is given an experience of the beauty and majesty, and the longing of God that all be healed and reconciled. We also get a sense of an inner transformation that gives him the boldness to speak God’s words of challenge and comfort to the people of Israel.
Then there’s Paul: so proud of his Jewish ancestry, his knowledge, his zeal for the God of Israel, that he hunts down those whom he perceives as threats to his proud tradition. What a transformation happens in him! Once he acknowledges his sinfulness (his weakness), he speaks God’s words of comfort, inspiration and encouragement to others. He finds strength, power and energy in his own weakness because now he considers himself ‘equal to’ not ‘better than’ other people.
We see a similar transformation in Peter. After having fished all night without any luck, Peter is told to cast his net into the waters again. So Peter lowers the nets. With the stunning catch, Peter was overwhelmed and moved to humility. He falls to his knees, acknowledging his sinfulness, and hears and obeys Jesus’ call to discipleship.
This week may we ask our merciful God to lead us to on-going conversion of our mind and heart, and to inner transformation by acknowledging our weakness and need for God. May we be given greater insight into ourselves; may we let God help us be the presence of Christ wherever we are; may we ask to have obstacles like fear and anxiety lifted from us so that we may be merciful as God is merciful; may we be emboldened to say: “Here I am, Lord, send me. I come to do Your Will.”
~ Beth Taneyhill