Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, C
Mission and the Experience of God’s Merciful Love
Being a prophet isn’t about predicting future events but being “Christ's witness in the midst of this world” (CCC 785). In this way a disciple prophetically reveals Gods will to those around them by their words or deeds. Indeed, all disciples are called to be prophets as a part of their sending by God.
Today we hear two dramatic accounts of such sending’s. In the first reading Isaiah’s initial response is to cry out, “What a wretched state I’m in, I am lost!” However, after the encounter with the seraph, he cries out very keenly “Here I am, send me!” This pattern is repeated in the Gospel and is to be repeated in our lives as we embrace our missionary sending by God.
Notice in the readings that Isaiah and Peter are capable of their sending only as they recognise their unworthiness and sin (hence their absolute need of God). Both rely wholly on the power of God, experiencing forgiveness for their sins allowing them to overcome their fears. It is this primal experience of God’s merciful love that sets them up to become Apostles of God’s mercy themselves. So it is with us.
Experiencing God’s merciful love is what makes us disciples and prophets. I’d just like to say that there is no end to this mercy. Have you ever noticed that in confessing your sins they tend to be the same as you have confessed before? That Christ died for these sins to be absolved gives us courage even if we fall into old habits of sin again. We are never to become despondent. We should never cry out in shame, “Leave me Lord, I am a sinful man.” In recognising our sinfulness we must also be humble enough to continue frequenting the sacrament, trusting that God’s absolute Love for us is the source of absolution time and time again. Do not be afraid to frequent the sacrament as God’s Love for you is bigger than any of your sins.
It is this confidence in God’s love that sends us! Through this experiencing we come to know and trust the unfathomable love God has for us. And this radiates from us! Our prophetic mission to witness Jesus comes from our experience of divine Love; specifically from the experience of God’s divine mercy.
So, I’ll finish by encouraging everyone to reflect on the need to experience God’s merciful love and to make a habit of frequenting the sacrament of mercy regularly. In a unique way the sacrament of Reconciliation deepens one’s experience of God’s mercy, better preparing a disciple for his/her sending as an Apostle of Divine Mercy (and obviously a fisher of men & women!).
See readings (Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time) http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021019.cfm