Send Me, Lord!
Jesus invites us to follow him and spread the Good News of the Kingdom. He says, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). Jesus sees and meets us where we are and offers us the opportunity to share in His divine mission of saving souls for God’s Kingdom. He finds and calls Peter and his companions at their profession, they are fishermen. He gets into their boats. This is indicative of grace invading their human and natural space. Despite the humanly impossible scenario, he and his companions have tried all night to catch fish without luck, Peter nevertheless obeyed Jesus who commands him to “put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” The miraculous catch that they made as a result of his faith in Jesus made Peter fully aware of his unworthiness in the presence of Jesus. “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8), Peter says. Just like Isaiah in the first reading of today’s mass when his sinfulness became clear to him in the presence of the Holy One and confesses “Woe is me, I am doomed (Is 6:5), and like Paul in acknowledgment of his unworthiness at being called to be an apostle admits, “For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle” (1 Cor 15:9), so Peter also sees only his wretched state in the presence of Jesus.
Don’t we all feel that way? Isn’t it the case that we feel unworthy of the call to preach or evangelize? We often call to mind our sinfulness and imperfections when we are reminded of our baptismal call to be prophets, to share the joy of knowing Jesus with others. Aren’t people going to refer to our human failures and flaws when we propose the life of faith to them? I do feel that way as a priest and preacher. On many occasions when I carry out divine missions, my human imperfections flash before me and I weep in sorrows at the recognition of the holiness of the one who calls and sends me, Jesus Christ, my Lord and friend.
The good news is that God still wants and still chooses to work with and in us despite our human weaknesses. It is His grace that perfects our imperfection. All that is required of us is to trust and obey his commands: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch” (Lk 5: 4). All Jesus asks of us is faith and submission to the grace he provides in abundance to supply for our inadequacy. Search for souls to draw into the Kingdom, respond to Jesus’ bid to preach the Gospel in words and deeds, and do it in creative and consistent spirit. Jesus is the perfecter of our faith. He is the one who actually wins souls for the Kingdom, we are his instruments. Like Jesus, the Church calls us to the New Evangelization. What are the ways in which Jesus is calling you today to fish out souls for His Kingdom? Who has Jesus brought recently into your path to invite into His Kingdom? Is there someone waiting to hear you share your faith with them and you have been hesitant to act because you feel unworthy? Just remember this, it is Jesus who calls and sends you and he knows you are not perfect but seek perfection. All you need to do is say, I know I am a sinner but send me, Lord!
In His Service,
Fr. Bernard, OP