Beginnings of New Life & Faith

02-06-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In our first reading, which is from the Old Testament, Isaiah had a vision of God who appeared in the very brightness of the angels. This vision left the prophet dramatically drained, yet also strengthened in a certain way. Isaiah believed he was unworthy to come closer to God who beckoned him, but he knew he was called by God's angels and so he responded "Here I am, send me!" This is quite the dramatic calling. Isaiah was transformed by the event, although his words were inadequate to express his feelings and the meaning of the vision.

In our Gospel, Peter's call by Jesus is less dramatic, but just as critical and important. Jesus turned toward Peter and invited him in the midst of Peter's familiar places, the lake and shore of the Sea of Galilee. This event is a detailed, carefully written account which means that this event is very important. This passage marks the beginning of the Mission of Jesus with his closest followers, men who Jesus was inviting to join Him. As it was early in the morning when Jesus came to the men, they were cleaning up their nets. They were exhausted from fishing all night and down emotionally because they had not caught any fish. Jesus then has Peter take Him out onto the lake and He invites them to fish again and cast their nets. When the gigantic catch of fish happened, everything became clear to Peter. Recall Peter already knew Jesus and has seen some of his miracles. Peter now knew who Jesus really was, so did James and John. As a result they left their boats and followed Jesus.

Our second reading is actually about the calling of Saint Paul, but Paul writes about it indirectly as he calls it really his mission. He does not tell the details of his calling, but instead the details of the mission, he is called to lead and serve. In this passage we also have the oldest surviving faith statement (creedal statement) of Christianity. Paul's statement of faith is what ultimately forms the core and heart of the church.

This weekend the stories of the scriptures which we read are all about the beginnings of new life and faith for Isaiah, Saint Paul and the apostles. These are stories about how less than perfect people are called by God and become great people of faith and service. Our own story, hopefully, will be similar to these. We are called by the grace of God to have great faith and to offer service to others.