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Homilies - Bishop Brendan Leahy

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year. C

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year. C

St. John’s Cathedral

During the week I heard the story of a young man who had always wanted to be a priest. Unfortunately, he got involved in a bad accident that left him immobile and disabled. Initially, he had seen that moment as the disaster in his life; it had destroyed all his plans. But one day, he suddenly realised that was his “Annunciation” day, the day, like Mary, when he was able to see “yes” to God in a new way, handing over the God and beginning again in life.

In today’s Gospel, we’ve heard of the big day when Peter changes direction in life. It seems Peter was a reasonably well-to-do fisherman with his own small business. But clearly there were moments of setback and this was one. He had been fishing all night but with no success. Mending his nets, he was probably feeling quite dejected, wondering about things, harbouring within himself a sense of failure.

But then comes what he had not foreseen. Jesus asks him to throw out his nets again. But this invitation seems to defy all logic. Fishermen knew that in that lake it’s at night you fish when the fish are closer to the surface. But he trusts in Jesus’ Word and casts out the nets with the surprising result.

We’re told of Peter’s reaction. It’s not unlike that of Isaiah in the First Reading. He recognises his own limits, failures and sinfulness while also recognising the holiness, goodness, power of Jesus, the Son of God. He makes a confession of faith. And Jesus sends him out on a new mission.

Often, we find ourselves in situations of self-pity, failure. We come up against our limits. There are situations that seem impossible. But that’s when God can do what we might not even think possible. Perhaps God allows us go through situations of failure, limit, discouragement because he wants us to depend more on him and realise that we can hand things over to him. In other words, we can trust God more.

And then, that we take his Word, the words of the Gospel and let them push us beyond our own usual logic. Maybe there is a Word of the Gospel that you particularly like or are attracted to. Why not take that Word and apply it to situations you find yourself in. And let’s remember the Serenity prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. ...