Weekly Bulletin & Pastor's Note - February 10th, 2019

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Pastor's Note for Sunday, February 10th, 2019

By Fr John Sullivan, SJ

When I commit some sin I can often feel that I’ve so let God down that I need to hide my face from Him.  A sort of “don’t show your face around here” reaction.  I forget the revelation of the Father in Jesus Christ.  I forget the parable of the Prodigal Son.  I forget the perfect expression of love and mercy in the crucifixion and the salvation offered in the resurrection.  If you sometimes react in a similar way, when we read this Sunday’s gospel, we can see that we’re not alone.  This week we hear about an early interaction between the Lord and Peter.  

Jesus wants to speak to a large crowd which has gathered near the shore.  It’s so large that he needs to change his location in order that his voice will travel better, so that more will be able to hear him.  He decides to speak from a boat.  After proclaiming the Good News, Christ tells the fishermen to go and to try and fish again, even though they had fished all night without any success.  But they show a sort of respect to the Lord and reluctantly agree to try once more.  This time, however, they catch so many fish that they needed the help of a second boat.  Even then, both boats became so filled with fish that they were in danger of sinking.  In this moment, the power of the Lord has been made clear.  Indeed Jesus is Lord, the anointed one of God.  I always assume that Peter and the others would offer exclamations of praise, would speak and shout with great joy!  And yet, what do we see?  Peter races to Christ, falls to his knees and asks the Lord to “go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”  What?  Peter’s response to God’s revelation in Christ seems so strange, so uncalled for, as if it’s “from left field.”  But we remember how we respond when we commit some sin.  Do we not hide our faces from him?  Do we not think that it’s best not “to show our face” for a while?  So Peter’s response to Christ doesn’t seem so strange after all.  We do the same thing.  

The saddest thing about our reaction of hiding ourselves from God is that Jesus has given us no reason to act in this way.  On the contrary, he has proclaimed “a year of the Lord’s favour,” that is a jubilee in which our sins are forgiven.  He has told and showed us that we are always the beloved children of the Father.  And when he died on the Cross, our world was made right and straight – we are shown the incomprehensible love of God for us.  It seems then that there is no need to hide ourselves from God.  It is not God’s will or desire.  What then are we to do if we are not to ask him leave us in our sinfulness?  We speak from our hearts.  We speak from our heart in words similar to the Psalm:

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
Before the Angels I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple, and give thanks to your name
For your steadfast love and your faithfulness.  

God Bless and take care -Fr John

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