Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

Readings:Is 6:1-8; Ps 138:1-5, 7-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11; Lk 5:1-11

God Uses Ordinary People In Extrordinary Ways For His Glory

At first it may seem that that statement isn’t quite right and you may not believe it. After all aren’t only “super Christians” used by God? You may be thinking, “I’m just a lay person what can God do with you?” Rather than thinking in terms of whether or not you have a seminary degree or extensive ministry experience I want you to go back to the Gospels. Remember the Apostles were uneducated and had no formal theological training before they met Jesus. They walked with Jesus for three years day and night, watching him perform miracles and hearing him teach them personally and as he taught others. Do you think that this Jesus the One who called men to follow him is concerned about titles after one’s name? Don’t get me wrong: earning degrees is great, but earning degrees is not the ultimate unless they are yielded in submission to King Jesus and used for his glory. God took a shepherd boy and made him King of Israel. God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways.

As Christians all of us are called to be collaborators in the mission of Christ. Christ continues to call us inspite of our sinfulness and failures. He can make us worthy instruments by his all powerful grace. We can identify with Peter, Paul and Isaiah, who offer us consolation and hope in today’s reading.

FIRST READING: In Isaiah 6, the young prophet received his calling, the only prophet to receive his vocation in a Temple vision.

PSALM 138 is a thanksgiving hymn, a song of gratitude for God’s faithful presence.

SECOND READING: St. Paul wrote to the community in Corinth about the power of the Good News. More than just words, God’s message has the power to change lives and save sinners.

GOSPEL: In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus took Simon Peter fishing. He caught an abundance of fish. That catch was a foreshadowing of the fishing expedition we call evangelization.

Isaac was a day dreamer, Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper and denied Christ, David had an adulterous affair and tried to cover it up with murder, Noah got drunk. Elisha was suicidal, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer and he was way a bigot.

Timothy had too many ulcers, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sara was impatient, Elijah was moody, Rehab was a prostitute, Samson – he liked a “fast” life. Isaiah preached naked for three years, John the Baptist ate bugs and had second thoughts about the very Messiah he baptized.

Jeremiah was way too emotional, Moses stuttered, Zacchaeus was too short, Abraham was old and Lazarus was dead. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!

Never say to yourself, “God can never use me.” God is not looking for the qualified, he’s looking for people who would just avail themselves to him. When Jesus called the 12, most of them were not even educated. Yet, Jesus equipped them and they turned the world upside down.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he told them: “not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.” But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are.

Those whom God calls, He equips.

We are all familiar with the twelve disciples of Jesus. These were very special men (except the one who betrayed Jesus). These men went on to change the world by preaching the Christian faith in a hostile environment. Some were killed for preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified. We would consider men like Peter, John, and James to be very strong men of faith.

However, there is one thing that we should keep in mind. They were all just men and there was nothing special about them before Jesus called them. It is true that God made them who they were and he purposed that they would be the disciples of Jesus Christ. However, besides that they were people like you and me. They had fears, concerns, misunderstandings, and all of the other things that we humans share.

Many people think that they have to get their lives right before God can love them, use them, or even save them. Many believe that God is looking for special people in order to use for service. However, we will see here that such is not the case. If God wants to use you then he will make you a special person and he will qualifiy you for the job himself. We are going to discuss the progression of the transformation of the disciples in relationship to Jesus calling them for service. You will learn a very valuable lesson about your capabilities as it applies to doing what God wants you to do.

God is not waiting for you to change so that he can use you, but rather you change as a result of God using you. Let’s look back at the disciples in Mark 3:13-15. Now the disciples were ordinary people as we discussed previously. Some were fishermen. James and John were actually disciples of John the Baptist before they began to follow Jesus. So these were ordinary people like any other person.

One thing that you should note is that Jesus called ordinary people to extraordinary things. He called them to do two things.

1. That they would be with him.

2. That he might send them out to preach.

The greatest thing that any human being can do in my opinion is to be himself or herself. I don’t mean to be anything or do anything. I mean that we should be what God intended us to be. We are truly defined by God not by ourselves or society. Society may categorize you one way, but God will categorize you another. The world may say that you are insignificant, but think how insignificant a few fisherman were over two thousand years ago. Now think of what those same ordinary people did to change the world.

Discover who you are and be that. Learn to first be with God and then do what he wants you to do. Don’t look merely at your own circumstances or abilities to determine what you can or cannot do. Instead, just follow God and allow him to equip you to do all that he wants of you. God made you and God calls you. Just answer the call knowing that God will provide all that you need to accomplish the call.

Don’t measure the call on your life in terms of Religion. For example, don’t think that in order to be a powerful preacher you have to be a part of some organized Seminary (though you should be accountable to someone just as the disciples and their disciples were accountable to someone). If God has called you to preach then get on the path to preach with being with an enlightened one. You will have to learn what it is you will preach before you can preach it, but God will guide you in that process. God will guide you in whatever he wants you to do.

Some are called to be doctors, lawyers, drivers, etc. It doesn’t matter. Besides, your calling and your life are not measured in terms of your occupation. Your life is measured in terms of God’s purpose in you. Be all that you can be in Christ. Start moving on the path to fulfill God’s purpose in your life. Your life will change because of what you are doing and in this case you are doing what God called you to do. The change comes as a result of doing. You obey God and it changes your life. You don’t change your life so you can obey God. We can do nothing on our own.

God has called married couples to be faithful and to love each another, to forgive, to see goodness in their marriage; to pray for peace and happiness; to recreate the Holy Family of Nazareth in their own homes.

God is not waiting for you to be qualified to call you. You will be qualified after He calls you and after you start to do what He says. Don’t worry about your provisions for what you need to do what God wants you to do. Just realize that God will provide the things that you need for the things that He wants you to do. So just go and get yourself on the path that God has prepared for you

I conclude with a lovely illustration: The call to launch out….

Many years ago, a little boy in the USA, was badly burnt in a school fire. So severe was the damage to his limbs and muscles that doctors predicted that he would never walk again. To his good luck, however, that little boy had a mother who, though illiterate, was staunch in her Christian faith. Against all odds, she believed that God could heal her son. Day after day, sometimes for hours, that devoted mother would massage the scarred, seemingly lifeless legs of her little boy, even as he cried with pain, and she would say to him: “Don’t worry, my boy, you will not only walk someday, but you will run.” To the cynical and the pessimistic, that was mere wishful thinking, in fact, absolute nonsense. The noble mother firmly believed her son was going to be the victor not the vanquished. And he was – in 1934 he set the world’s record in running a mile in 4 minutes 6.7 seconds. His name? Glenn Cunningham!

“Launch out into the deep!” said Jesus to the crestfallen Peter after his failure in catching any fish during the night, and to us. “Be not afraid!” said a certain Jim Vorsas: “The Lord gives us friends to push us to our potential – and enemies to push us beyond it.” Valladares J. in “Your Words O Lord, Are Spirit and they Are Life”

By Duccio – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=150337

Fr. Gaspar Fernandes, OFM Cap.

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