Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 10, 2019 – Year C
Readings: Is 6:1-2A, 3-8 / Ps 138 / 1 Cor 15:1-11 / Lk 5:1-11
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
God’s ways are indeed different from what our human intelligence tells us is the right way. The entire history of salvation gives us examples of people whom God has chosen to be leaders, when by human standards, they would not make the cut. This is simply because God can see the whole picture.
I’m going to give you examples of three well-known men in history who were leaders during their time. Perhaps if each of them would run for office today, you could tell which of them would be considered good leaders based on the particular qualities and characteristics they have.
Candidate A: He was associated with crooked politicians. He consulted astrologers. He was severely disabled, a chain smoker, and he drank 8-10 martinis a day.
Candidate B: He was kicked out of office twice. He slept until noon every day. He used opium while at the university. He had undiagnosed manic depression, and he drank a bottle of whiskey every day.
Candidate C: He was a decorated war hero. He was a vegetarian. He didn’t smoke or drink.
If we were to only rely on these listed qualities and not see the whole picture as to who each one really was as a person, we could say that Candidate C would be the best leader, hands down. But we will have a different judgement when we learn who these men are. Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United States from 1932 until his death in 1945. Candidate B is Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister from 1940-1945 and 1951-1955. Candidate C, whose characteristics look good on paper, is Adolf Hitler.
In the gospel today, we have heard the Lord Jesus choosing men who will lead God’s people: Peter, James, and John. By the world’s standards, they didn’t have the qualifications of being good leaders, as is true with the rest of the disciples, except perhaps for Judas Iscariot, who seemed to be the only educated man in the group. But the Lord Jesus could see the whole picture. He knew what was in each of these men’s hearts. He knew that they would be humble enough to say that without God, they could do nothing.
In the gospel that we have just heard, Peter, a master fisherman, knew that Jesus was a carpenter from Nazareth who probably knew nothing about fishing. In spite of this, he humbly obeyed what the Lord asked him to do. Eventually he followed Jesus as a disciple.
Although Peter, James, and John continued to be weak and frail human beings throughout their lives just like all of us, they became the most courageous people who ever lived on this planet. They preached God’s living words and even performed miracles in Jesus’ name until they each suffered a martyr’s death. They were able to do great things, not because of who they were, but because of who God is.
As we continue to talk to the Lord Jesus in a very personal way during this celebration of the Holy Eucharist, let us ask Him to give us the grace that, in spite of our weakness, frailties, doubts, and fears, like Peter, James, and John, we may also be able to obey our Lord’s commands and allow ourselves to be His instruments in bringing people close to Him.