A HOMILY FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 2/7/16 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you this day!
It is so hard to trust other people today. We live in this crazy time of broken promises, and failed marriages, and estranged family relationships, and friendships that used to be. Today we wonder who we can trust and just how much can we rely on them. Will they be there for us, when we need them?
Remember, a few years back, somebody came up with that Trust Fall experience, that became all the rage at religious retreats, and group counseling sessions, and team-building workshops? The way that the Trust Fall works, is that one person crosses their arms across their chest and falls straight backwards, into, hopefully, the trusting arms of a fellow retreatant, or a supportive support group, or a like-minded team that is going to back you up. The Trust Fall works great when everybody is working together and everybody is paying attention. You fall back, and your group is there to catch you. The activity builds teamwork and trust. But that’s when it works. I was on a retreat once, and the retreat director wanted all of us to do the Trust Fall, with just one other person. I was paired up with tiny, little exchange student from China. It all worked great when she fell backwards, and I caught her. She like weighed nothing! Then it was my turn. I was supposed to fall backwards, with all my weight, and she was supposed to catch me. I had visions of creating an international incident, as I crushed the little 80 pound Chinese exchange student. I couldn’t do it. The Trust Fall experience doesn’t work when one person goes crashing to the ground, and kills the other person. That experience tends to have the opposite effect, of destroying trust, rather than building it up!
I don’t know whether or not Jesus ever did the Trust Fall with the Apostles, but what I do know is that today St. Paul is asked to trust Jesus in our second reading. And that He, Jesus, asked St. Peter to trust Him in our Gospel story today. Both Peter and Paul, and all the other Apostles, were going to be putting their futures and their fates into Jesus’ hands. They are going to have to trust Him. I think our Gospel story today points this out best for us. The Apostles are tired. They have been fishing all night long and not caught a thing. Suddenly, Jesus shows up. He points them to a specific spot and asks them to drop their nets once again. And Peter, Andrew, James, and John are given the catch of lifetime! They would be rich! There were enough fish to pay the bills for a long, long, time! And it is Peter who know that this isn’t right. He is humbled by what Jesus had done. After all, he was a professional fisherman, and he who had been out there all night, hadn’t caught anything. Peter knows how much bigger all of this is, than him. So when Jesus calls and challenges Peter to leave everything behind and to come and join Him, telling him that from now on, he will be a “fisher of men”. And Peter does leave everything behind. He goes with Jesus. Peter falls hook, line, and sinker for Jesus’ promises, and he gives up everything. He makes that leap of Faith.
What this Gospel describes as Peter’s leap of Faith, now also has to become ours. We’ve got to be able to fall back into Jesus’ arms and know that we are going to be OK. We too have to trust Jesus enough to know that He’s got us. We can trust His mercy. We can trust His way of life. We can trust His teaching. We can trust His love. We can trust His promises. And why? It is because this Jesus is faithful to what He promises, to what He says He is going to do! Peter found that out. Paul found that out. All of the Apostles learned that they could trust this Jesus, well, except one. And wasn’t Judas’ problem really, that he couldn’t let go. Judas couldn’t trust.
My brothers and sisters, let us trust this same Jesus with everything that we have! He will change us, and our lives will be radically changed, but it will all be for the good! There are lots of broken promises and broken relationships in our world today. But God will not break His promises or abandon His love!
Let us trust that! Let us rely on that!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!