5th Sunday Year C - Homily 2

Homily 2 - 2013

 Probably none of you feels all that special.  But you are.  You're faithful.  Why are you here? A lot of others you know aren't here.  Oh well, you always come – it's part of your weekly ritual. Or, maybe, you feel you've got to come; you should come.  All that may be true, but I think there it is more than that.  Somehow, somewhere, some time, God has touched you.  Or, maybe, it's not that yet; it could be that you long for God to touch you.

During the past week, I have been reflecting on today's Gospel.  Peter and his companions had an experience.  The Gospel said that they were completely overcome by it.  They were professional, experienced fishermen.  They were always catching fish – sometimes not much, sometimes a good catch.  But this one seems to have been remarkable – remarkable enough for all sorts of things to happen in Peter.

Somehow, he felt, precisely, what the Gospel called overcome.  He felt afraid.  He became fearfully aware of his sinfulness – perhaps about time! He became frightened of Jesus – whom he had already seen doing remarkable things like healing his mother-in-law's fever some time back.  But that didn't seem to have struck him.  This did.  … I suppose it was the sort of thing he had dreamed about – [what every fisherman dreams about!]

Sometimes in life, things strike us.  We sense the hand of God.  It can be anything that triggers it off.  But sometimes, it happens – unspectacular, usually out of the blue, when you're going about what you're usually going about when nothing happens.  We sense the hand of God.

It could be that, at the same time, we sense our own unsuitability, our sinfulness – and that could have the effect of our telling ourselves that we're kidding ourselves.  We become aware of our dreadful inadequacy.

In today's Gospel, Peter's spontaneous reaction was to say: Leave me, Lord, I am a sinful man. And Jesus totally ignores it.  He doesn't say: "Oh no, you're not" – because he was.  He simply ignores it.  No surprise to Jesus – but that would be something they could work on together later.

And what about us? It is not that our sinfulness is irrelevant.  But until we realise that we are special, that we're loved in spite of everything, we can never really do anything about our sinfulness anyhow.  We may wriggle and squirm, but we need to let God love us, to let God, in fact, like us – and somehow relax into that.

Even in the face of Peter's sinfulness [that both Jesus and Peter knew about], Jesus still said: "Things are going to change in your life.  I've got things for you to do."  And I think that that is where Jesus is with us.

Peter left everything and followed him.  So did James and John his partners.  But the other companions in the boat? We don't know about them.  Perhaps the penny didn't drop.  Perhaps they just made the most of their once-in-a-lifetime catch – and were oblivious or unresponsive to the mystery of Jesus, and to the mystery of their own lives.

Anyhow, as I said when I started, you're here.  I'm here.  Something has happened to us; or, perhaps, we're longing for something to happen to us.  I don't know what makes the penny drop – but sometimes it does.  Perhaps, it helps to be on the lookout, to be reflective, like Mary, to treasure our life, our ordinary life, and to ponder it in our hearts.