Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Is 6:1-2,3-8; 1Cor 15:1-11(or 15:3-8,11); Luke 5:1-11

Someone suggested that if Jesus had sent his twelve disciples for psychological testing this might well be the reply he would have received: Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization. All of them have taken our battery of tests. We have run the results through our own computer. After having arranged personality interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant, it is the opinion of our staff that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the enterprise. They have no team concept. Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has no qualities for leadership. The two brothers James and John place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas shows a skeptical attitude that would tend to undermine morale. Matthew has been blacklisted by the Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus, definitely have radical leanings, and registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale. One of the candidates however, shows real potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. Anon

Having heard that assessment of the Twelve Apostles it gives hope to us.  We are each called by the Lord at baptism and confirmation to be his Thirteenth Apostle, so to speak.  You cannot say you are not suitable.  God calls you to make a difference to the world. God wants to use you in his plan for the salvation of the world.

Therefore we can say that the call of Christ to be “fishers of men” is not only addressed to the apostles and their successors: bishops, priests and religious. Gone are the days when the laity are to pray, pay and obey. By virtue of our baptism we are called by God and wants to use us in His plan for the salvation of the world.

It is stated very clearly in one of the documents of 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.

The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II no 434) also said: “The laity’s field of evangelizing activity is the vast and complex world of education, politics, society and economics, as well as the world of culture, of the sciences and arts, of international life, of the mass media. In this vast arena of pastoral engagement the church needs the special gifts, individual and collective, of farmers and fishermen, workers, mass media practitioners, educators and lawyers, civil servants, of those in the medical and nursing services and professional in the various strata of the society – of all the lay faithful, rich and poor to fulfill the mission of communicating Christ.”

So whether you are a teacher, a government official or employees, doctor, politician, nurse, executive and others, you share in the apostolate of preaching, teaching, healing and witnessing to Christ’s teaching.

This mission of ours communicating God to others is mixed with a risk. In accepting a mission there is always a risk.

Like for example a friend of mine decided not to get married because she is afraid of what will happen after the marriage. “Nobody can predict the outcome,” she said. That if she will get married, she is afraid of her children, will they be good or bad? Will the family always be in good health and maintain its financial stability? Will they be able to maintain their closeness or not because they are busy with their work and others? Not only this, if we forgive somebody who has wronged us, will he take advantage of our goodness? Is it strength to forgive or a weakness? All sort of things like these. So every decision is a risk. To do the mission given to us by Christ is a risk too because we do not know what will happen to us in the future. But this is precisely what it means to be called by God: to have a trust in Him and to know that when He calls he will take care of His people.

Many of us are worried and even giving up of what we have started because we look back at our own family’s concerns: food, shelter, clothing, basic education of children and many more.

Another one could be that there are people who do not want to be taught by the church. We can detect this in the way they respond to our invitation to go to church and attend Masses or Bible Services. The church teaches the people to choose the best candidates during election that met the criteria set by the church but they chose the other one. In our gospel, Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. In other words, It is still Jesus teaching us today through the authority of the Church and he is always being the one to listen to and no teaching of the church which is not always in line with what Jesus taught even though at times there are instances that the church committed a mistake. But that shows that the church is by its nature, human and Christ is there to protect and takes care of His church. If people do not listen to the Church, it is tantamount to say that they do not listen to Jesus.

So trust in Jesus when we do His business of mission. In doing the mission, there is always discouragement and failures.

How about you are you doing your share in the work of your parish? As “fishers of men” are you attracting people to the Lord or turning them away?

See Today’s Readings: Cycle C

Back to: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

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