Friday, April 17, 2009

"A Jewish Carpenter Had to Teach Them How to Fish!" - Fr. John Trigilio

Today's Gospel reading reminds me of a great homily by my dear friend, Fr. John Trigilio about our sense of unworthiness to serve in the Church, or to do God's work, period.

The most common reaction of those being called into service is, "But I am not worthy!" As a Deacon Candidate in formation, I certainly felt that way when I first recieved my call from the Lord. I wanted to serve, but felt that I was not worthy to do so. I felt I was not "holy enough," "devout enough," or "sinless enough." Then I harkened back to Fr, Trigilio's words about today's Gospel (Jn 21:1-14), which are in part:

Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee's sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We also will come with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.

Paraphrasing Fr. Trigilio drastically, "So here's these rough and tough, manly, experienced fishermen, who relied upon fishing for their livelihood. BUT THEY COULDN'T EVEN FISH! They needed a Jewish carpenter to teach them how to catch fish! And this was the motley crew that Jesus personally chose to be His Apostles and the founders of His Church! If they were "worthy enough" in Christ's eyes, then certainly any one of us is "worthy" if called to do the Lord's work."

This caused me to reflect upon others chosen by God for some of the most important work in salvation history. Moses, by his own admission, was not a good public speaker. Yet God chose him to debate the Pharoh to release the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. (After he accepted his call, God of course then graced him with his brother Aaron!)

How about Mary and Joseph? Yes she was very devout, holy and sinless, and Joseph was a good and just man, but what of their parenting skills? God entrusted them with His only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and THEY LOST HIM for several days. Oh to have been nearby for this discussion. "Where's Jesus?" "I don't know. I thought he was with you." "Well I thought he was with you!" "Oh man are we ever in trouble!"

And of course there is Paul (Saul). God selected a man who was the first Christians' greatest persecutor to be the one who would end up having perhaps the greatest impact on the formation, growth, and continuation of the Church! He went from impliedly consenting to the stoning to death of Stephen, the first martyr, to being the Church's being defender! Yeah he admittedly needed to be knocked of his horse to get his attention, but sometimes we need to be smacked upside the head too (figuratively of course) to wake up!

The bottom line is this. God plants the seed. If we go so far as placing a drop of water on it or letting the sun shine on it even for a brief moment, BOY DOES HE MAKE IT GROW! He makes beautiful pottery out of many cracked pots. And certainly I have been called a "cracked pot" myself in my life!

Step out in faith! If He brings you to it, He with guide you through it!

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