Today’s homily is for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 6, 2022, and the readings can be found by clicking here. The video of this homily can be viewed by clicking here, and can be heard by clicking here.
William Faulkner wrote, “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” Today’s Gospel challenges us to be obedient to our Lord, to be irresponsibly optimistic, and to not be afraid to put out into deeper water. Two thousand years ago our Lord called Peter, James, and John to put their trust in him and to be obedient to his command. Today he calls you and I, and in a particular way these candidates and catechumens, who seek to join our community of faith and the body of Christ.
Today we conduct the Rite of Welcoming and the Rite of Acceptance, whereby we acknowledge the call that they have heard the call to put out into the deep–and they have. Over the course of these past five months they have faithfully attended classes on Wednesday evenings, as well as attended Mass on Sundays. They have shown their desire to join the Catholic Church and today we welcome them and accept them, as they respond to the call.
So often at the end of a long day, we find ourselves exhausted. All I want to do is put on my slippers and relax, but there is ARMEE on Monday nights, Confirmation on Tuesday nights, RCIA on Wednesday nights, Knights of Columbus meetings on Thursday nights…and sometimes I just long for the shore. Your lives are not different, I’m sure.
Today the Lord tells us, I know you’re tired. I know you’ve worked hard all day and your nets are empty–but come out to the Church and let me fill your nets! I work ten to twelve hours most days–but it’s in ministry that I am filled. Too many of us are going home empty every night, but our Lord calls us to be fishers of men! He calls us to put out into deep water. He wants to fill our nets…so much so that we tell others about it and bring them along too.
Each Wednesday after Mass I invite parents whose children attend catechism to join us in the small church, but only a handful take me up on it. They’re nets are empty after a long day, and they seek for rest…it’s understandable, of course, but we don’t get fish that way.
I’m very proud of our RCIA group and their courage to put out into the deep this year. I’m encouraged by all of you here who cast your nets each Sunday. I want to challenge you and your family to seek opportunities to serve in obedience to Jesus’ call. Many of us simply stay close to the shore. We attend Mass, but do little more than that. I would like to encourage you this year to go deeper. Start a Bible or catechism study, attend RCIA on Wednesday nights, support our Catechism program by teaching, being a group leader, or bringing snacks and helping, participating in activities like Stations of the Cross, A night in Bethlehem, supporting one of the many fundraisers that the knights put on, or supporting the festa. There are so many opportunities to respond to the lord–it’s time to get off the shore.
Make this the year when you go deeper into your faith, and go deeper into His service. Make this the year you start a course through the diocese, or respond to the Lord’s call to be a deacon, or even the priesthood.
Too many of us have become too comfortable with going home empty handed. Obey the Lord, trust him, and put out into the deep. You will be astonished at the catch you receive. You will be overjoyed at what the Lord has in store for you. Trust him. Lower your nets. Do not be afraid to lose sight of the shore.