Ordinary 5th Sunday – FROM SIN TO MISSION
Ordinary 5th Sunday
Is. 6: 1-8 1Cor. 15: 1-11 Lk. 5: 1-11
FROM SIN TO MISSION
God prepares us for a mission by helping us to overcome our sins.
Light that Reveals Sin:
When a room is full of dust, and if there is no light in it, it will look as though the room is clean and neat. Only an inflow of light into the room will reveal the dust lying in. Similarly we, human beings, may have a lot of sin within us, but not all of us are aware of them, and much less accept them. It is only by being open to divine light and God’s illuminative presence that we can become aware of our sins.
In the first reading, we see Isaiah uttering the words, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips.” He became aware of his own sinfulness and his sinful background (“I live among a people of unclean lips”) when he was in the presence of God. Similarly Peter became aware of his sinfulness in the powerful presence of Jesus. In fact, Peter did not recognize Jesus as divine in the beginning of the event. We see Peter addressing Jesus as Master, which shows that Peter perceived Jesus only as a Teacher. But after the miraculous catch of fish, he recognized the divine nature of Jesus. That is why he addressed Jesus as ‘Lord.’ His recognition of the divinity of Jesus goes along with his awareness of himself as a sinner. We see him uttering the words, “”Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” It is to say that Peter allowed the divine light into himself – the light which revealed to him who he was.
Paul is yet another person who had his share of vices and transgressions. He had masqueraded fanaticism as staunch love of his religion. He was not hesitant even to kill people who did not fit to his narrow-mindedness. That much closed he was. It was on the way to Damascus, God’s light entered into his closed heart and Paul recognized how much of uncleanness he was carrying. All these incidents reveal to us that light that emanates from God’s presence can help human beings become aware of what they are.
Grace that Removes Sin:
If awareness of sins is the first step towards a better Christian life, coming out of sin is the next step. Not all people who are aware of their sins have the guts to overcome them. Quite often we come across people who justify their bad habits or who bemoan that they are too powerless to overcome their sins. In order to overcome our sins, on the one hand, we need to take genuine human effort, and on the other hand, we need to become aware of God’s grace, poured into us.
Those people who are aware of God’s grace working in them, have got the power and strength to overcome their sins. St. Paul, who had overcome his rudeness and fanaticism, claims in the second reading, that it was because of God’s grace that he could overcome his sins and get converted. “I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain.”
Here the point is not that God gives grace to certain people and to others He does not. God gives necessary and sufficient grace to everyone to overcome their sins. However only a few are aware of it. Once someone told Gandhi, who encouraged everyone to take spirituality seriously, “You are specially gifted. You should not expect the same things from others.” Gandhi answered, “It is a way of cheating ourselves that we are not specially gifted. I too am a very vulnerable human being. In no way, I am better than others. I have never tried to show either. But with all humility, I say that I am a person who constantly accept my faults and work on them. Moreover I firmly believe in God. Is it not in everyone?”
From Sin to Mission:
The reason why God helps us to become aware of our sins and to overcome them is to send us on mission. Isaiah who was cleansed of his sins was given the mission to preach God’s message. He responded to God’s invitation by saying, “”Here am I; send me.” Peter was given the mission: “from now on you will be catching people.” “ Paul was given the mission to preach the Good News to the gentiles.
In order to work for others and to be God’s instrument, a certain amount of self-purification is necessary. A person who is not sufficiently purified, carries one’s sinfulness and woundedness wherever one goes and allows them to spill over others. Such a person does more harm than good. Unfortunately many of the social, political and religious leaders of today do more harm to the society because of this reason.