1.1saiah 6:1-8
2.1Corinthians 1:1-11
3.Gospel: Luke 5:1-11

"Whom does God choose?"

In a certain church there was a man in the choir  who could not sing very well. The choir director suggested that  he should leave the choir .Others felt that he should be given more time to improve. The choir director then decided to go to the pastor and complained, " You have to get that man out of the choir or else I am going to resign." so the pastor went to the man and said to him, " Perhaps you should leave the choir." " Why should I leave the choir?" the man asked. " well," said the pastor, " four or five people have told me you can't sing." "that's nothing" the man replied, " forty or fifty people have told me you can't preach!" today's readings show us how God can make use of the most unlikely people to fulfill the divine purpose.

The first reading on the call of Isaiah, the second on the call of Paul, and the Gospel on the call of Peter and his coworkers. We can ask ourselves one question that  how did these people feel when they realized that they were in the presence of God? they all felt unworthy of God. Isaiah said : Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips!" ( Isaiah6:5). Paul felt himself unfit to be called an apostle, because he persecuted the church of God. ( 1Corinthians15:9). And Peter fell down at Jesus' feet and said, " Go away from me , Lord for I am a sinful man." (Luke5:8). Initial feeling of personal unworthiness could be a sign that a soul has seen God. 

That's why humility is said to be the first and primary virtue in authentic spirituality. The feeling of personal worthiness and competence, not to talk of the feeling of self-righteousness and spiritual superiority, could be a sign that the soul has neither seen nor known God.

Beyond the feeling of personal unworthiness, there is another quality that the three people who are called to do God's work in today's readings have in common, and that is availability to do God's will and the readiness  to follow His directives. As soon as Isaiah hears the voice of the Lord asking, " Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" his immediate response was:" Here am I; send me!" (Isaiah6:8). In the case of Peter and his partners we are told that "they left everything and followed him." ( Luke15:11) without looking back. And Paul threw himself with so much zeal into God's work that he worked harder than all those who were called before him, though as he is quick to point out , " It was not I, but the grace of God that is with me"(1Corinthians15:10). Merely feeling unworthy and incompetent does not make us into  people that God wants. We must add to that the availability and willingness to go out there and do as the Lord directs.

Sad to say, today many have the idea that this call of Christ to become 'fishers of men' is adressed  only to the apostles and their successors ( the bishops together with the priests and religious). That is not true. Every Christian is commissioned to a ministry of love and justice by virtue of his/her baptism.

It is stated very clearly in one of the Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church ( Lumen Gentium) no.31 that says, " The faithful who by baptism are incorporated into Christ's Body  and are placed in the people of God and in their own way share the priestly, prophetic, and kingly  office of Christ and to the best of their ability carry on the mission of the whole Christian people in the church and in the world.

In addition to this, Vatican II's  Apostolicam Actuositatem no.3 says, " Incorporated into Christ's Body through baptism and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit through Confirmation, the laity are assigned to the apostolate by the Lord Himself. It is even stated that where lay involvement is lacking , " the apostolate of the pastors will frequently be unable to obtain its full effect; where lay responsibility is absent the church is incomplete," ( Apostolicam Actuositatem nos.10, 21 PCP II)

The one virtue, above all others, that fishermen need, is the virtue of hope. To cast a small hook into a large expanse of water in the expectation of catching a fish, is an act of hope. And to do it time after time , hour after hour without even the tiniest bite, is to hope beyond hope. It was the one virtue Christ needed in the person he chose to lead his followers. He was, as history has shown, launching Peter into deep waters indeed. This may be supported by Teilhard Chardin who once said " the world belongs to him who will give it its greatest hope." 

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Chapisha Maoni