Sunday, February 07, 2016

We're Not Worthy

This weekend's Mass readings included one of my favorites.  It's the story of the call of Peter.  Jesus is teaching by the sea in a boat.  Afterwards, He tells Peter to go out and lower his nets for a catch.  Peter tells Jesus that they were out all night and didn't catch anything.  But, because Jesus insisted, Peter goes out and lowers the nets.  He catches so many fish it takes 2 boats to bring in the catch and the two boats almost sink.  Peter reaches the shore and tells Jesus to leave him because he is a sinful man.  Peter recognized he wasn't worthy to be in the presence of Jesus.  And what does Jesus do?  He tells Peter that He wants Peter to follow Him.  And, to top it all off, Jesus makes this scared, unworthy man the head of His church.

I love the story of Peter and his association with Jesus before the Crucifixion.  Peter tries so hard to do things right.  And he keeps screwing it up.  He eventually denies even knowing Jesus.  And yet, Jesus picks this seemingly most unworthy person to be a leader.

Peter's story resonates with me because there are many times that I feel unworthy of the blessings and graces the Lord gives me.  Who am I that God would do so much for me when I don't always do enough for Him?  And yet, that's the love that God has for us.  That even though we always fall short, we're forgiven.  God picks us up, dusts us off, pats us on the head and seeming says "Keep working at it and try to get better."  Peter is my model for that.  The way I look at it, if Jesus trusts a man like Peter to take care of His flock, then there's hope for us all.

Before the most recent change to the English version of the Mass, just before communion we used to say (and I actually still say) "Lord, I'm not worthy to receive you.  But only say the word and I shall be healed".  I firmly believe this is an essence of the Catholic faith.  Even though we're not worthy, God sent His Son who died on a cross for us to forgive our sins.  Jesus could have walked away from that destiny.  But He chose to do it despite the cost.  Think about the depth of love that must be.  Who among us would die a horrible death for people we don't know that probably don't like us anyway.  And yet He did.

Lord, I'm not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.  And, for the most part, I feel healed.  Thank you Lord.


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