by Fr Francis Anthony
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Theme: Called for Mission
As I was going through the readings that we have for today’s Mass, I see how relevant it is for us who are celebrating Chinese New Year. Not just the Chinese, all of us. The readings are given to us here.
In the First Reading from Prophet Isaiah, it is the tearful need the Prophet had, the vision of the presence of God and the singing of the angels ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’. And the reaction of Isaiah was ‘I am an unclean person and I come from a community of unclean people.’ This is what happens to us.
We have been going around wishing each other God’s blessing on them but what is the biggest blessing that we can give to others is the presence of God, the peace of God. In this, I like the Arabic way of wishing ‘Salaam alaikum’ ‘The peace of God be with you’. The fullness of God’s blessings.
And we must be people who are convinced that we can do it. We may say I am not worthy, I am unclean. But God cleanses us and then to Isaiah who was showing that he was an unworthy person, Jesus makes the statement ‘Whom shall I send who will be my messenger?’ Two weeks ago, that was the theme ‘Whom shall I send?’
God is saying to us. We have already wished each other blessing of God and all. But now during this feast of the Chinese New Year, God is reminding us of our role. ‘Whom shall I send who will be my messenger?’ Who will be the one who will reach out to others, bringing the message of God, bringing the peace of God, bringing God’s presence in their midst? We are, none of us are worthy of
And in the Second Reading, Saint Paul is coming to say, he is preaching the same doctrine that the apostles preach, he says I am unworthy but God has made me worthy. He did not refer to his conversion.
In a similar way, God has trust in each of us, young or old, irrelevant. And He wants us to be His messengers of peace. Let this Chinese New Year greeting spark in us this, to be the messengers of peace to others. We may not be able to go and preach and talk to them but the messengers of peace, which I have said quite often from this pulpit, is the way I speak, the way I relate, the way I respect others.
Yes, this we can do and we have to do. And if we are not doing this, wishing each other ‘Happy New Year’ is just putting words. It should come from within us.
And the Gospel text, you will see Jesus getting into one of the boats and using that boat, he sat there and he preached to the crowd. Yes, let us allow Jesus to come to us and to preach to others through us.
It is only this way we can see we are a missionary church. And going to the other reality that we are speaking of, the Synodal Church. Big words just means coming together – Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Laity – all together. We are going to make Christ present. And we will be saying this prayer after the Prayer of the Faithful, the Adsumus Sancte Spiritus.
As I said, it is just the opening words of the prayer. But what we are praying for is the unity of the church and to be able to go out together as one body. And here God takes control. He sat in the boat and preached. Then he told them to throw out their net. The good fisherman, Simon, said ‘I laboured all night and caught nothing. But at your word, yes, at God’s plan for me, I will do what you want me to do.’ I might not reap a big harvest. Let me have the satisfaction that I am making you present.
As the Lord in the First Reading said, ‘Whom shall I send?’
Am I willing to respond to that invitation in a positive manner?
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