posted on February 10, 2013 09:48
Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
February 10, 2013 -5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
10 AM Service
Isaiah and Paul and Peter - they really are us. They were afraid, they knew that something was going on around them, and that God was stirring up something. With Isaiah, it was God speaking directly to him, and Isaiah thought he was unworthy. That's why they took the coals to his lips, a sign that he was now free of all his sinfulness. And he felt something. And then he asks, “What do you want.”
God says, “I want you.”
Without giving a second thought Isaiah responds, “Here I am. Send me.”
Peter was the same. Like us, we are all sinners. We don't really feel we're worthy but when we see God do wonderful things we begin to wonder. And yet Jesus entered into Peter's life. You notice there were two boats but he got in Peter's boat. Peter went through that process and then finally Peter asked, like Isaiah, “What do you want with me? I'm not the one you should be choosing?” And Jesus says, “I will be the one to decide that. I want you to follow me.”
That all sounds just fantastic. We would all like to experience that this week. And we will. God is going to give us signs that will take place around us. You might be sitting or standing at work and all of a sudden something will happen. You can almost get chills in your body and you wonder what's going on. God is just waiting for any one of us to say, “God, what do you want?” The same answer will be, “I want you. I want you now. And this is what I want you to do.” That is when our faith has to kick in and say, “I'm ready.”
In order for us to experience that, we have to be people of faith, and if we are people of faith we have to know that love overpowers everything and patience is the key.
Many years ago I went to Florida to visit some friends and we decided to go fishing. We got into a boat and in Fort Myers there are a number of channels and bridges you go under and then you can go out into the larger water. We went along and we were talking and enjoying the day and ever so often we would stop to throw in our lines and nothing was happening.
We were starting to get sunburned so we thought we better turn around and come back. As we came back we got right by one of these little bridges, and this friend of mine said, “Let's stop by here and give it one last chance before we call it quits.” He and his wife and I threw in our lines and then all of a sudden one of us had a bite, the next one had a bite, the next one had a bite and we began to catch all these fish. We threw some of the little ones back in the water. We just kept hauling in fish until finally it was, “We don't need any more fish.”
Then my friend said, “You drive the boat and I'm going to clean these as you're driving.” We got home and we were able to put the fresh fish on a grill, and make a salad and sit down and say, “Isn't life wonderful!”
If we hadn't paused we would not have had the experience. That episode was a human episode. God is trying to tell us, “It's not all about the fishing. It's about trusting me.” And you and I periodically have a problem throughout our lives of trusting God.
We say, “God, you tell me to pray, you tell me to do good things and it all seems to be blowing up in my face.” And the response is, “If we're quiet, are you ready to follow me? I'm going to show you something much better than fishing. I'm going to show you that when you reach out and you love someone and you get a response - it is better than anything in the world.”
Meeting a friend that you have for the rest of your life. Meeting your wife or your husband that you want to share every moment with. Having a complete stranger come into your life and assist you with something. And then we begin to realize, “Maybe that's why I come to church.”
We would all have to push a button at each of three doors if it said, “Sinner - yes, or no.” You better push yes, because that is what draws us here. Not that we are horrible people - it's just that when we sin, and I don't care what it is - it distracts us from doing God's work. We just don't have the energy, we're getting frustrated with life and when we come in here, and God says, “I went fishing this morning. I brought you all here. Now I'm asking you -will you lower your nets. And if you are willing to lower your nets I promise you - you will see something happen that will change your life.”
It's going to happen. The secret is whether or not you or I are tuned in to have it happening.
So today, we have to remember the Gospel was written 2,000 years ago, and Isaiah was written 2,400 years ago. We're still the same people. We've got the same faults; we've got the same gifts. Jesus just says, “Push aside the stuff that is not important.”
And what he was trying to tell Peter was, “I don't care how many fish you catch. That's not going to get you through the gates of heaven. All that's going to do is put food on the table, and clothes on your back. I want you to know that there is something so much more important in your life. And quit finding excuses. I'm tired of hearing them. But I won't lose my patience with you; I am just getting tired of hearing them. I want you to step up to the plate and be my disciple. No one can take your place but together if we all get caught up in the same net, no one can claim their turf. We're just all thrown in together.”
And Jesus says, “That puts a smile on my face. Because that is the Kingdom for which I came, and the Kingdom that I wish to give to you.”
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.