6th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 14th February

14th February: 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 17: 5-8

Psalm 1 1-4, 6 ; R 39:5

1 Corinthians 15: 12, 16-20

Luke 6: 17, 20-26

The first reading, from Jeremiah, reminds us to put our faith in the Lord, not in works of man, and on “things of the flesh,” which are arid, like dry scrub in the wilderness.  Instead,  we are advise to put our trust in the Lord, for then we “will have no worries in a year of drought, and will never cease to bear fruit.”

These are wise words indeed, but we could also do well to remember that works of the flesh are not the only works of man.  Sadly, the same can be said of the institutional church, which in its teaching on sexuality is also arid and devoid of life giving sustenance. However, if we pay attention instead to the words and example of Christ himself, and develop through our prayer life a personal relationship with Him, we too can find a source of life-giving nourishment, and “shall never cease to bear fruit”. Read the rest of this entry »

Fishing for Souls: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 7th February.

Isaiah 6:1-8

Psalm 137: 1-5, 7-8

1 Corinthians 15: 1-11

Luke 15: 1-11

What does “apostle” mean to you?  For many people, there is an assumption that it ahs something to do with being of the elect, one of “the twelve”, or the inner circle.  But the word itself has nothing to do with this- and Scripture itself is not at all clear that there were just twelve apostles:  where the word is used, it refers in different contexts to different groups.  At times it is indeed used to refer to the twelve- at other times it is used interchangeably with “disciples”, to refer to a wider body of followers (and at least one woman, Junia, is described as an apostle).

The word itself simply means one who is sent – derived from “apostello” – I  send.  Today’s readings from Isaiah and from Luke remind us that in this sense we are all apostles. Isaiah tells how, seeing himself as unworthy, as a wretch, he nevertheless heard the Lord asking “Whom shall I send?”, to which he answered (to his own surprise, I suspect), “Here I am, end me.” Simon, on the lake shore after the miracle of the fishing boats, is overwhelmed by his own unworthiness, and pleads with the Lord to be left alone in his sinfulness. But the Lord will have none of it, and assures him that henceforth, he will be a fisher of men.

 

"Fishers for Souls", Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne (c. 1589, Delft – 1662, The Hague)

Now, being chosen does not mean that Isaiah and Simon were mistaken in their earlier self-assessments.  They believed they were wretched sinners – and so they were, just as we all are. Read the rest of this entry »