Reflection/Homily: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C: Theme: Here I am Lord, Send Me
The word “mission” is derived from the Latin verb “missio” meaning to send. That is why I can define a missionary as a person sent by God to a people and a place to do the will of God among the people and make the place a better place. This missionary could be sent as a priest, a prophet, a teacher, a healer or even as a businessman, medical doctor, labourer, etc.
In the first reading of last Sunday, we see God sending Jeremiah on mission as a prophet to the Israelites. In today’s first reading (Isaiah 16:1-8) we also see God calling Isaiah for a mission as a prophet to the Israelites. In the second reading (1 Cor. 15:1-11), St Paul discusses the mission he received from Christ as an Apostle to the nations. In the Gospel reading (Luke 5:1-11), we see Christ calling Peter and his companions for their mission as fishers of men.
It is pertinent to note that for mission to take place, there must be an encounter between the sender and the sent. This encounter is not just a physical encounter but a meeting with the Divine which leads to transformation and empowerment. In the first reading Isaiah had this encounter with the Divine in a trance and his sins were forgiven. In the second reading, Paul’s encounter with the Divine took place on his way to Damascus and in the Gospel reading, Peter and his companions encountered Christ by the lake of Gennesaret.
Whenever there is this encounter with the Divine, there is always a feeling of unworthiness on the side of the mortal. Moses experienced this unworthiness at the burning bush. Isaiah experienced this unworthiness and considered himself doomed and lost for encountering the Divine. Paul experienced this unworthiness and considered himself unfit to be called an Apostle. Peter’s feeling of unworthiness even led him to ask Jesus to leave him. But why this feeling of unworthiness? This is because every encounter with the Divine manifests the inexhaustible grace of our magnanimous God which leads to a total transformation and empowers man with the vision for his mission.
With this vision, man sees the dignity of his mission on earth and becomes aware of the transformation that has taken place in him. This awareness makes him feel humbled by God’s grace and the individual can only confess his unworthiness for such favour. At this moment, the individual is energized by God’s grace to do whatever God requires of him. Then we can say that mission has taken place and the individual begins to do his work as he has been sent.