Here I am Lord – Fr. Mark


5th Sunday In Ordinary Time –  Year C

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: February 10, 2019

Many years ago before I became a priest when I was at university, a friend who was not Catholic invited me to attend a Christian student mission conference in United States.  So, I joined him at this conference that had about 15000 university students from all across North America.

In that group there was only a few Catholics.  But, the local Catholic chaplain did offer a workshop for Catholic students who were at the conference.  The one thing that I remember was that the chaplain gave us a small bookmark with the prayer from the Prophet Isaiah that we heard in our first reading today.  “Here I am, Lord, send me.”

That may have been the first time that I started to think of my life as a vocation in a conscious way, that I was called to serve in some way.  When I first felt inside that God might want to work through me in some way.  Though I had not thought about the priesthood yet, it was probably one of the steps on the way.

The greatest challenge of the Church today, the greatest challenge for every Catholic parish, is to create a sense of vocation in as many Catholics as possible.  That all the baptized will embrace that spirit of the prophet Isaiah, “Here I am, Lord, send me.”  That all of us will realize that God wants to work through us.

God wants to work through you in some way.  For some it may be in a vocation such as the priesthood or religious life.  Some in the Sacrament of Marriage.  But, all of us no matter what our state in life are connected to God who is at work in the world.  So, we are also connected to the work of God.  God actually trusts us and chooses to bring love, peace, mercy, care into the world through us.

When Isaiah was called and when Simon Peter was called by Jesus in the Gospel today, for both of them the first reaction was fear and a sense of not being worthy.  There are two things that can prevent us from being instruments of God in the world.  First, is fear.  Fear often prevents us from doing good, from doing the work of God.

Second, is the sense of being unworthy.  We do not feel that God would be interested in us.  Well, God says to each of us, be not afraid.  God trusts us and wants to work through us.  Ask yourself: how may God be calling you, how may God want to work through you, right in your family, or where you work or study, or in our community?

Like the Prophet Isaiah, each of us needs to make our daily prayer, “Here I am, Lord, send me.”  To live in this spirit of openness to serve and be an instrument of God.  It is amazing what God is able to do through any one of us, when we open our heart to be an instrument of God.  Go home today with that prayer in your heart,  “Here I am, Lord, send me.”

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