February 6, 2022
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I bet I know the first word that popped into your mind when you read today’s headline: PROSECUTION!
But today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings invite us to consider WITNESS — not for the prosecution, but for the RESURRECTION!
In our first reading, we see Isaiah dramatically commissioned to WITNESS to the vision of faith in his heart. He responds wholeheartedly:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,Isaiah 6:8
“Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”
Our second reading, Paul describes how Christ appeared to him and commissioned him, “the least of the Apostles” to be his WITNESS. Paul, too, responds wholeheartedly:
He appeared to me.1 Corinthians 15:11
Therefore, … so we preach and so you believed.
In our Gospel, Simon Peter, James and John are awed by the miraculous power of Jesus as their nets pull hundreds of fish from the otherwise unproductive sea. Jesus tells them that, by their WITNESS, they will attract hundreds of souls to his message. They also respond wholeheartedly:
When they brought their boats to the shore,Luke 5:11
they left everything and followed him.
Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, in her beautiful book, “Seven Sacred Pauses”, describes the level of WITNESS in the first disciples:
They were impelled to continue proclaiming the Gospel in the face of opposition. They were zealous in preaching because they felt passionate about being entrusted with the sacred message.
Think of this often-heard philosophical conundrum:
If a tree falls in the forest,
and no one is there to hear it,
does it make a sound?
Logic tells us that it does. But what does it matter if no one hears it?
If the Resurrection happened, and no one bears witness to it, what does it matter? That is the importance of our call to WITNESS – just like Isaiah, Paul, Peter, James, John, and two millennia of believers who carry on the sound of that tomb bursting open to eternal life.
Poetry: In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being – Denise Levertov
Birds afloat in air's current,
sacred breath? No, not breath of God,
it seems, but God
the air enveloping the whole
globe of being.
It's we who breathe, in, out, in, in the sacred,
leaves astir, our wings
rising, ruffled -- but only the saints
take flight. We cower
in cliff-crevice or edge out gingerly
on branches close to the nest. The wind
marks the passage of holy ones riding
that ocean of air. Slowly their wake
reaches us, rocks us.
But storms or still,
numb or poised in attention,
we inhale, exhale, inhale,
Music: I Will Stand as a Witness