Stop Toiling For Nothing; Just Obey The Word Of God. 

Stop Toiling For Nothing; Just Obey The Word Of God. 

​*🎷Stop Toiling for Nothing; Just Obey the Word of God.🎷*

Homily for Sunday 10th February 2019.

_“ ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word, I will let down the nets.’ And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking.” *(Luke 5:5-6)*_ 

Indeed as the book of Hebrews tells us, the word of God is living and active. Two Sundays ago, we had Ezra reading the word of God to the people which made them cry, last Sunday, we saw Jesus explaining the word of God to his people and they reacted violently because he highlighted its bitter truths. Today, Jesus spoke the word to Peter and it didn’t make sense to him but when he obeyed it, Peter himself was marvelled at its power.

Without a doubt, our readings today contain so many powerful lessons which cannot even be exhausted in one homily. The summary of them all is the fact that God’s words are so powerful and true that even if they do not make sense to us, our survival and progress in life depends entirely on our obedience to God’s word. Let us not analyse some of the lessons.

*One: Failure is Just a Stepping Stone.*

Last Sunday, Jesus miraculously escaped death in his hometown. Having been rejected from his home town and his own country, Jesus could have just decided to give up entirely. Failure is very painful. There are many of us here who have allowed our dreams to die or refused to answer our Divine Call all because our attempts at actualising them were absolute failures.

Like Peter and his fellow fishermen, some of us have worked all night (the best time for that particular work) only to catch nothing. Like St. Paul and Isaiah, some of us may have become so disappointed with ourselves based on our sinful past that we feel we are simply good for nothing. Jesus experienced failure in teaching his own people despite the fact that He is God but He pressed on. Dear friends, change your attitude to failure. Stop looking down on yourself. Learn your lessons and move on.

*Two: God Calls Us through the Ordinary Events of our Life.*

It wasn’t by mere coincidence that Peter and his team failed that night. It wasn’t by mere coincidence that Isaiah happened to be in the temple when he experienced a vision of heaven during the time of the incense. It wasn’t by mere coincidence that Paul was arrested on his way to Damascus while on a mission to destroy Christianity. Not all of us would be lucky like Isaiah to actually hear a voice from heaven but if we reflect on our life’s daily events we would see the hand of God leading us somewhere.

The truth is that nothing happens by chance but it takes a truly reflective mind to see beyond the “ordinariness” of these events. When Peter saw a great catch of fish which he was not expecting to see, he knew this was not about fish; that, he had just encountered God. He fell down immediately at the feet of Jesus saying: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Peter recognised the Divinity of God. He and his fellow fishermen would eventually abandon that great catch of fish alongside their boats and nets to follow Jesus.

Have I had a similar experience to Peter? Did I go after the great catch of fish or did I follow that inner voice saying “come, follow me.”? When last did I experience a miracle from God? Do I remember praying for something only to get a speedy and shocking answer almost immediately? Did I like Peter, draw closer to God after the miracle? Did it lead me to repentance knowing how close God was to me when He speedily granted my prayer? Or have I become a miracle-seeking Christian who continues to live in darkness and sin

*Three: Obey God’s Word No Matter What.*

It really felt like a joke when Jesus said: “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” God’s words sometimes come to us as a joke. At times, it feels as if what God is demanding from us is unreasonable and impossible. I was once addressing a group of youths telling them the importance of virginity before marriage and all of them just burst into laughter. They were wondering which planet I came from. Someone once told me that if he does not tell lies, his business would simply cease to exist. Our society has fallen to the extent where taboos are now seen as normal while those who attempt to be righteous are seen as outcasts.

Some of us “do not have time” to read the Bible but will gladly read thousands of social media texts, newspapers and erotic novels. Why? We feel the Bible does not belong to our world. We feel it is not for normal people like us.  Peter replied to Jesus, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But AT YOUR WORD I WILL LET DOWN THE NETS.”

Do I trust God enough to obey His Words? Do I even realize what my life would have been if only I have been faithful to obey God’s words? Have I been toiling in vain like Peter simply because I feel comfortable living a sinful life; a life of disobedience to God’s word? Do I select and choose from the word of God? Am I one of those “progressive” Christians who feel that some of God’s commandments are no longer relevant especially those related to human sexuality? Dear friends, trust and obey God.

*Four: Just Make Yourself Available, God will Do the Rest.*

One important lesson we also learn today is that you do not have to be perfect before God can use you. When I hear people commenting on the daily homilies on this platform, I find it difficult to believe what they say because I know myself; I know how weak and limited I am and how I am easily prone to errors; I know I am not the author of what I write. For all those called by God, there is always a sense of unworthiness deep down within them. Jeremiah felt he was too young. Isaiah had a guilty conscience. Peter called himself a sinner. Paul persecuted Christians.

God does not call the qualified, rather he qualifies (completes, adds to and betters) the called. In the case of Isaiah, an Angel touched his lips with a lump of burning coal and granted him divine absolution but not all those called by God receive such dramatic experiences. Sometimes, God does not even “qualify” the called, he uses them just like that. Even the so-called “bad priest” can inspire vocations. At times, a poorly prepared homily strikes a chord and brings listeners to tears. All we have to do is to say with Isaiah: “Here I am, send me.”

*Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to obey your word even when it is hard and tough on my skin. Amen.*

Happy Sunday. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. 

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C.

*Bible Study: Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 137, 1st Corinthians 15:1-11 and Luke 5:1-11.*

-Fr Evaristus Abu.

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