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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Reflection/Homily: Fifth (5th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

Theme: Here I am Lord, Send Me
The word “mission” from its Latin origin “missio” means to send. From this point of view, a missionary could be described as a person sent by God to a people and a place to do the will of God among the people and make the place a better place. This missionary could be sent as a priest, a religious, a teacher, or even as a businessman, medical doctor, labourer, etc. 

In the first reading of last Sunday, we see God sending Jeremiah on mission as a prophet to the Israelites. In today’s first reading (Isaiah 6:1-8) we also see God calling Isaiah for a mission as a prophet to the Israelites. In the second reading (1 Cor. 15:1-11), St Paul discusses the mission he received from Christ as an Apostle to the nations. In the Gospel reading (Luke 5:1-11), we see Christ calling Peter and his companions for their mission as fishers of men.

It is pertinent to note that for mission to take place, there must be an encounter between the sender and the sent. This encounter is not just a physical encounter but a meeting with the Divine which leads to transformation and empowerment. In the first reading Isaiah had this encounter with the Divine in a trance and his sins were forgiven. In the second reading, Paul’s encounter with the Divine took place on his way to Damascus and in the Gospel reading, Peter and his companions encountered Christ by the lake of Gennesaret.

Whenever there is this encounter with the Divine, there is always a feeling of unworthiness on the side of the mortal. Moses experienced this unworthiness at the burning bush. Isaiah experienced this unworthiness and considered himself doomed and lost for encountering the Divine. Paul experienced this unworthiness and considered himself unfit to be called an Apostle. Peter’s feeling of unworthiness even led him to ask Jesus to leave him. But why this feeling of unworthiness? This is because in the presence of God, no one is sure of his innocence. Every encounter with the Divine manifests the inexhaustible grace of our magnanimous God which leads to a total transformation and empowers man with the vision for his mission.

With this vision, man sees the dignity of his mission on earth and becomes aware of the transformation that has taken place in him. This awareness makes him feel humbled by God’s grace and the individual can only confess his unworthiness for such favour. At this moment, the individual is energized by God’s grace to do whatever God requires of him. Then we can say that mission has taken place and the individual begins to do his work as he has been sent.

Beloved friends, as Christians we encounter Christ every day in the Word and Sacraments. Do we feel humbled when you encounter Christ especially in the Holy Eucharist and at confession? Besides, our encounter with God prepares us for the mission He has sent us. The Word of God informs us of God’s will to be done in our place of mission and the sacraments sustain His graces in us. So do you consider yourself as a missionary? Whatever position you find yourself in life is your mission and that environment is your mission land. Do you proclaim Christ there as Isaiah did or do you bring people to Christ as Peter and his companions did?

There is still another aspect of mission, that of receiving the sacred tradition and handing it on to others faithfully as St. Paul talked about in the second reading. As parents, teachers, masters, etc. do we faithfully hand over the knowledge of God to those under us? As children do we faithfully receive and preserve the knowledge of God handed over to us? Therefore beloved friends, let us be conscious of the fact that we are all missionaries in our different places of endeavour and strive to do the will of God there and make there a better place. We should be ready at all times to do this and like Isaiah say “Here I am Lord, send me” and the Lord will do great thing with us. God loves you.  

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