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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Homily - Being Used, for God's Kingdom

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be named a Saint during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Certainly she was a great saint, evident in the fact that she did with courageous love what so many of us would barely be able to do with fear and trembling. She walked right up to people with decaying limbs and picked them up, put them in a wagon, took them to her home, and cared for them while a doctor would save those he could and comforted those he could not.

She used to describe herself as a little pencil being held by God. She was his instrument to work with, to draw a masterpiece with. By being little in the hands of God, Blessed Mother Teresa, soon-to-be Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was indeed something very great for hundreds and thousands of suffering poor throughout our world.

Isaiah, Saint Paul, and the two sets of fishermen brothers in the Gospel (Simon & Andrew, James & John) also were able to allow themselves to be instruments for God's work, as were so many others within the Old Testament and of the Church's 2000 year history. All truth be told, the most influential people in our world were those who allowed their work to be God's work, even if they weren't Catholic or even Christian. God is the source of all truth, of all justice, of all beauty, of all good, of all love, and so anyone that devotes their lives to these ideals, find themselves leaving the most powerful imprint on the good we see in our world's history.

Let us look at today's Gospel for an example of how that process of becoming an instrument for God starts. Much to our surprise perhaps, it doesn't start with us and it isn't about us. Jesus simply jumps into the lives of these four fishermen by getting into their boat. Imagine if someone jumped into your car at a stoplight, or set up shop in your workplace, or barged into your home, and you will get a sense of how these guys felt. So we see that God is the protagonist, God is the instigator, God is the author of our past and of our future. Our past is that we are loved in spite of our imperfections, and our future is we will do great things in spite of our imperfections.

Secondly, we see Jesus stuns the fishermen with a miracle: their work is shockingly abundant, but only when done according to His plan. At the sight of this, Simon Peter admits his unworthiness in a humble way. But is God (Jesus) surprised or frightened by this news? No, His love is increased. Now Simon is able (with his co-workers) to now begin the mission of “catching men,” even while for almost every day for the next three years they will be at His side. And thanks to their courageous “yes,” we are all here today.

This is a summary of our vocations, mine and yours and of every single Christian. God jumps in. He showers us with grace. We are humbled, and forgiven. We are disciples. We are missionaries.

As we enter into the season of Lent, these parts of the Christian experience are meant to be re-lived anew at a deeper level. Who knows which one will strike us the most? That is up to God. It it His story, we are his little instruments. May this journey of the next 7 weeks help us to grow as true disciples of the Lord.

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