Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Homily - "Courage!"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch”.  This is a perfect Gospel as we get ready to start Lent!  Put out into the deep….go deep with Christ this Lent.  This might mean to go deeper with giving up stuff…fine.  Maybe something like last year, you gave up coffee on Mondays, this year you’ll go deeper and go without on Tuesdays as well.  Ok.  But, I would suggest going deeper with Christ in Lent looks more like praying for 20 minutes every day, reading a chapter of the Gospel every day, or going to daily Mass (that’s the best thing we can do for Lent).  Go deeper with Christ this Lent!

In today’s readings, we hear about callings.  Isaiah received the call to be a prophet.  This is a huge call.  When many of us hear a call from God – when we hear the phone ringing – we think, “I’m not answering that”.  But, when Isaiah hears the call, he says, “Send me!”.  Simon and the other fishermen receive the call in the Gospel to be Apostles…to be fishers of men. (“Men” refers to males and females).  Each one of us here tonight has received the same call – to lower our nets and catch men…catch people…catch souls for Christ.    Another huge call.  I remember someone saying to me early on when I started in youth ministry that we can effect someone’s eternity.  Wow!  It’s a huge call to bring someone to Christ and effect their eternity.

It takes courage to be fishers of men.  We just had our ski retreat this past weekend.  It was such a good time.  It’s just so good to be with 40 good people.  We had a ton of fun and went deep spiritually…literally, put out into the deep.  When we went skiing, we had some beginners.  I remember last year, the beginners received a lesson that seem to last the whole night.  So, this year I told them to bag the lesson and I would show what to do.  I basically taught them how to “snowplow” down the mountain and a few other things.  Then, took them to the top of the bunny slope and told them, “have courage”.  They said, “Father, we can’t do this.  We’re afraid”.  I reminded them to have courage.  They set off down the mountain and did great.  They did another run or two and then went over to the intermediate slopes where we are all were.  They didn’t even fall much at all!  I told them at our closing Mass that if they have the courage to ski the beginner and intermediate slopes their first time, they have the courage to invite people to Ash Wednesday Mass, Bible study, Tuesday dinner, or Chipotle after Mass.

So, how is your catch coming?  Who have you caught for Christ?  What have you caught in your life?  We use the term of a “catch” with relationships.  Some of our ladies have come to me not real happy with the catches they’ve made!  But, with respect to catching souls for Christ, how have you done?  Have you brought people to Him?  Have you built up our community and the Kingdom of God on this campus?  Who or what have you caught?

Also, look at how the catch happens.  Without Christ, they catch nothing.  With Christ, the nets are bursting.  This is a general point to make: only in Christ can we be “successful”…only in Christ can we be fruitful.  He says in John 15, “without me you can do nothing”.

Finally, look at the responses to the call.  Both Isaiah and Simon essentially say that they are not worthy.  None of us is worthy to be fishers of men.  None of us is worthy to come here to receive the Eucharist.  We say every time before receiving  But, the Lord commands us to receive.  He makes us worthy.  He makes us worthy to be fishers of men.  He makes us worthy to receive all that we have in the Kingdom of God.  Let us go deeper with Him this Lent.  Let us put out into the deep, not be afraid, have courage, and catch souls for Christ.  


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