Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Dustin Collins
February 10, 2019
I am convinced that the apostles were the worst fishermen in recorded history. They never make a catch unless Christ first tells them where to cast their net. Much like the apostles we are in need of forming this relationship with Christ. In the Church we have the great gift which is Christ present with us in the Eucharist and yet we so often don’t spend the time necessary to fathom what exactly we receive or whose presence dwells with us here.
Simon Peter is most striking in our Gospel. He comes to encounter Christ and then falls to his knees and says, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” I reflect that if Christ were to walk into this Church that this would be my response. I hope that this would be all of our response, and yet Christ is present with us here in the Eucharist, but our attitude doesn’t always line up with this reality.
It is Christ who takes bread into His holy and venerable hands and says: “this is my body which will be given up for you.” In other words what Christ institutes for us in the Most Holy Eucharist is not symbolic, but is literally the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ our Lord.
In this world in which we live we are all looking for belonging. We often look for this in all the wrong places when we have what our heart desires here within the Church and yet we often don’t feel compelled to go in search of it. In the words of Saint John Vianney speaking on the Eucharist: “Jesus is really there, and if you knew how much he loves you, you would be the happiest person in the world.”
Simon Peter realized this revelation for himself within our Gospel. Hopefully we too will come to realize this revelation for ourself. With humility Peter came to acknowledge Christ. His response was not that I am owed such a gift, but rather “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” To behold the Eucharist, to receive the Eucharist, to be in the midst of the Eucharist should bring us to trembling. It should make the words of Peter come to our lips: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Within this Mass we proclaim similar words: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
We cannot be like the rest of the world, but we must instead remain on guard that we don’t allow our ourself to comprise the Church and her teachings with worldly ways. Peter did not stand, but he knelt. Peter was not filled pride, but with humility. Yet we allow the church to be place of noise as we compromise on sacred silence turning our sight away from Christ who dwells with us here in the Eucharist. Reverence has been thrown out in favor of speed. Is what going on in the rest of our day so important that we must rush out the door before the Mass even finishes?
Hopefully, we will become convinced of the Lord’s presence. The apostles became convinced of His presence. It was only then that they let go of their own desires and trusted in His guidance. At that they caught a great catch of fish. Therefore, let us let go and trust in the Lord for ourself. Let us foster that relationship with Him especially in the Presence of the Most Holy Eucharist.