Message from Fr Joe (06/02/2022)

5th SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME – 5th/6th Feb 2022

Dear Parishioners,

In today’s Scripture, we look at the vocations of Isaiah, St. Paul and St. Peter. They are called in strange circumstances. They each recognise their unworthiness but have the assurance that God will be with them. Through our Baptism we also are called to build God’s kingdom. We should fear no evil for the Lord is with us.

“Here I am, send me!” These are words that bring joy to the heart at a time when it can be a challenge to find volunteers.  Whether it is in the parish or candidates to the priesthood and religious life. The prophet Isaiah is responding in the light of the fact that the angel of the Lord cleansed his lips with the burning coal. He is now going to be able to speak God’s words clearly, with confidence and without hesitation.

We see Jesus speaking that same word of God by the Sea of Galilee. Crowds of people have gathered to listen to him. Among those hearing the word are Peter and his companions as they clean their nets. Sadly for them it’s been a “bad day at the office” – no fish after a nights work.

Jesus invites them to try again. Somewhat reluctantly, the fishermen set out once more. Lo and behold, they make a mighty catch. Note, Jesus invites them to move out into “deep water”. We wonder, had they been fishing keeping safely too close to the shore?

We get a clear message of perseverance; of taking risks and trusting in God’s providence, mercy and goodness. We think in thankfulness of those brave men and women and missionaries who ventured to foreign lands bringing the faith to others. In my fifty years as a priest in London I’ve experienced this fact of how Irish people as well as other nationalities have added to the spread of the Gospel. That same task is ours today at home and abroad.

It is remarkable, when we really trust in God and respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, what wonderful things happen.
We as individuals and church need to ‘launch out into the deep’. So often we cling to the shore; we try to keep safe; very little of adventure and so we end up getting nowhere. There are many aspects of church life we need to take hold of.

As we plan for the Bishops’ Synod of 2023, we have a unique opportunity to put forward ideas for discussion. We need to respond to the signs of the times. What is happening around us, or maybe what is not happening may be more pertinent. There are many examples: half-empty churches; priest less parishes; our response to migrants and Climate Change, to mention but a few.

Have we the courage to launch out into the deep once again?

That all for this week, God bless,
Fr Joe

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