Isaiah 6:1-2,3-8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Luke 5:1-11
Imperfection is the quality of being incomplete, full of weakness and faults. It is that state of lack and the state of the constant feeling of weakness and unworthiness. One of the qualities of the human person is his weakness and feeling of unworthiness.
In life, we have many different vocations and calling. There is a special thing that God wants us to do for Him in this world, but because of some mistakes of the past, because of what people will say, and due to some seeming imperfections we think that we have, we deem ourselves as unworthy of God’s call.
Sometimes we feel so guilty about our pasts, our mistakes, loopholes and the things we did not do well. Sometimes also we feel so low about ourselves that we find it hard to interact with others.
Many times we even find it hard to worship God because we believe He will never forget our pasts or because we think we are not worthy of His presence.
Yes we are not worthy but from the readings of today, we will find out that God never calls the perfect, rather He calls the imperfect to perfection.
In the readings, we will still find out that in the presence of God, we will encounter the source of our perfections.
In the second reading, Paul acknowledges that whatever happened to him was through the grace of God. Therefore, we need His grace to do the work He calls us to do.
Let us always know that how others think of you is not how God thinks of you. They may see you as worthless, faithless, sinner, a never-do-well, illiterate, ignorant, shameful person etc, But God sees you as a future saint, full of value, and an instrument of change.
God calls the imperfect to perfection, so, how we see ourselves sometimes is not how God sees us. While we see ourselves as already a finished product, God sees us as people who are on the journey towards perfection.
Then His work is to bring us to perception. Therefore, though we may feel imperfect, God calls us to perfection. God calls the imperfect to perfection.
God is ready to Perfect Our Weaknesses.
A close look at all our readings today reveals one common phenomenon; the feeling and expression of unworthiness by all the personalities (Isaiah, Paul and Peter).
Truly speaking and given the fact that they are human beings, they deem themselves as not worthy of God’s mission. Yet God makes use of them.
1. The first reading tells the story of the call of Isaiah. Isaiah explains how his encounter with the angels of God changed him.
While in the temple, Isaiah saw the vision of the Lord of Hosts seated on a high throne; his train filled the sanctuary; above him stood seraphs, each one with six wings. They were singing Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts, all the earth is filled with His glory.
Isaiah exclaims that the temple was filled with the glory of God and then He shouts “Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell amid a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of Armies!”
Immediately, one of the angels touches his mouth with tongs from the altar and declares to Isaiah that He has purged away his sins.
Therefore, Isaiah felt so unworthy of God’s presence when he encountered the Holy of Holies. But God perfects His imperfection.
In essence, Isaiah was full of imperfections, but God did not look at his imperfect nature, what God is simply interested in are Isaiah’s availability and willingness. Then He makes other things possible.
2. In the same way, there are times we feel so unworthy of our pasts. There are times we feel we are the worst sinner on earth, because of that, we count ourselves so unworthy to work for God.
Let us always know that God calls anyone. God calls the sinner to make him a saint. He calls the imperfect to perfection. God used Paul, who was a murderer. He used Matthew who is a tax collector, today He used Isaiah. God can still use you. Only be willing and available for the Lord.
3. Also, when Isaiah encounters the angels, Isaiah acknowledges His mistakes, weakness and unworthiness. God then intervened.
In the same way, when we see that we are going down and we are not doing well. When we feel that we are so down on ourselves, let us acknowledge it and go to God for mercy and forgiveness.
Let us seek His presence again to help us in this time of our weakness. God calls the imperfect to perfection if the sinner is also willing to return and acknowledge His pasts and mistakes.
Therefore, God is ready to forgive and make us well, if we are also ready to come to Him and acknowledge our mistakes.
Despite Your Past.
Today, what many of us are suffering is not that we do not have the capability and zeal to work or do something for God. It is not that sometimes they do not have that intense desire.
The problem sometimes is when they remember what people will say or what people will tell them. Many times we are caged by the mistakes of our past that we allow them to affect our future.
Therefore, the life of Saint Paul teaches us that what belongs to the past belongs to the past. The past is not the present and the present is not the future. Therefore, God is not interested in the past if we are willing to turn a new leaf.
God calls the imperfect to perfection if the imperfect can let the past be the past. Therefore, let us not allow the past to continue to affect our present and future.
In the Second reading, Paul pronounces himself “the least of the apostles, who is not worthy to be called an apostle, because he persecuted the Assembly of God. Paul was a murderer until He encountered Jesus.
God did not remember His past again, rather God used Paul to touch many lives. Many letters of the new testament are from a past sinner, killer, persecutor and murderer like Paul.
2. Also, this teaches us not to immediately put a final full stop on the condition of anybody. Do not write anyone off yet. Never think that because He is suffering now, it will be like that forever. God can intervene in the life of anyone and at any time.
Do not put a full stop to what is happening in your life or the life of any person. Anyone can still change.
3. Secondly, do not conclude on any person because of the mistakes the person did in the past. Because you heard something wrong about him or her and you conclude that such is how the life of the person is.
The person you know yesterday may not be the same today and the person you know today may still change tomorrow, everything is by His grace.
God calls the imperfect to perfect their past. Let us stop talking bad about anyone because of our encounter with the person in the past.
4. Finally, despite your past, God can still use you for a mission. Despite that mistake, you made that keeps worrying you, the future can still be brighter.
We Need a Divine Encounter.
What really changed the lives of Isaiah, Matthew, Paul, and Peter was a divine encounter. They encountered God and were transformed.
When we encounter God we shall surely change. Let us always remember that God calls the imperfect to perception, therefore, we need a true and changing encounter with Him.
In the gospel, Peter’s response to the miracle of the abundant catch fits nicely with the Old Testament and Epistle lessons.
In the gospel, though James and John sons of Zebedee were present, the gospel narrative presents categorically the call of Peter.
So, one notices that the main figure on the scene, apart from Jesus himself, is Simon Peter. It is his boat that Jesus uses. It is he to whom Jesus speaks first, asking him to go into the deep water.
In the call of the apostles from other gospel narratives, While Mark and Matthew speak of Jesus walking along the Sea of Galilee and abruptly calling Simon, Andrew, James, and John to follow him (Matt 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20), only Luke tells the story of a miraculous catch of fish preceding the call.
In the gospel, Simon Peter is the only person who speaks to Jesus. He addresses him as “master” (Greek: epistat ēs, a term used for tutors and teachers) at 5:5. But after the miraculous catch, he addresses him as “Lord” (kyrios) at 5:8.
Likewise, Simon Peter is the only one whom Jesus addresses directly; both when he tells him to go into the deep water (5:4), and, interestingly, even at the end of the story when he says “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people” (5:10), Making him the key figure here.
The whole point here is that before Peter encounters Jesus, He was imperfect, He has toiled day and night, He has given up already. But when He had a divine encounter with Jesus, there was a total turnaround.
Therefore, in our different callings and works, we need the ever-abiding presence of God in everything that we do. God calls the imperfect to perfection. Let us go to him as who we are. He knows how to make good use of our gifts and talents. We always need a divine encounter.
Cast the Net: What We Need to Do.
In today’s encounter, Jesus tells Simon to put out into the deep water and let down his nets for a catch.
Peter believes this will be a futile exercise. He is a professional fisherman, after all. We can almost hear the exasperation in his voice when he responds, “Master, we have worked all night but have caught nothing.” But then he continues; “Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets” (5:4-5).
Sometimes we find it difficult and weak to obey God’s injunctions and to do what God demands of us. By obeying God’s word and direction, we will always be successful.
We shall always surmount hard and impossible situations. By saying yes to God, we shall always overcome every temptation. We need His word.
By obeying His instructions, Peter had a great catch. Jesus later told him that this is how he will catch men. In essence, by obeying His instructions, we will always touch lives and make great catches for the Lord. Therefore, in our different ministries, the word of God should be our guide.
2. Secondly, Jesus did not tell Peter that he is weak, rather Jesus asked Him to try again. Jesus asked Him to listen to Him this time around. Jesus asked Him to put the same net that he was using before to another spot.
Therefore, sometimes what we need in life are people who can encourage us to try something new.
3. Thirdly, Jesus is letting us know that when it becomes hard and we are challenged to lose hope, we have to try another strategy. We have to use the other spot. We have to go deeper this time.
Also, we have to listen to Him this time. It is not that we have run dry, but now we have to get Him involved in ministry and the world. We need His grace just as Paul acknowledged in the gospel.
4. Fourthly, the missionary activity demands our yes to work and yes to God’s word. You must let down your net. You have to get down to work.
God demands our yes to His call and willingness to work. It was Mary’s yes to the message of the angel that begins the salvific history of humanity.
In all He does, Jesus was in perfect obedience to The Almighty Father and ready to work, then wrought salvation for humanity.
When God calls us.
When Peter Peter encounters Jesus today, he starts recounting his sinful nature, as do Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, to name but three (Exodus 3:11; Isaiah 6:1-11; Jeremiah 1:6).
Sometimes many who God calls always will always begin to recount their past, limitations and sinful nature. Even Peter objects to Jesus’ command to go out to the deep water, but then he does as he was told to do (5:5). And something significant happened.
So, sometimes those whom God calls resist because they are only paying attention to their limitations and weaknesses and then forget the grace of God. But that’s not God’s interest.
When God calls us today or when we want to do something for God, we often neglect the grace of God abundant for us and start focusing on our weaknesses and limitations.
Many people today concentrate on what they think they cannot do well and thus allow it to affect what they do.
Therefore, God knows that our limitations and weaknesses are nothing to Him to bend. Let us focus on what God can and will do with us rather than focusing on our weaknesses and pasts.
Jesus calls Peter and his partners as they are. Peter is acutely aware of his unworthiness, but Jesus is not put off by this in the slightest. Jesus encounters him as he is, tells him not to be afraid, and calls him to a new mission of catching people.
2. Throughout Scripture we see that human sin, failure, and inadequacy are no obstacles to God’s call. God calls imperfect people to do God’s work, people who are aware of their unworthiness and are often doubting and resistant to God’s call (see, for example, Exodus 3:10-12; Isaiah 6:1-6; Jeremiah 1:6-8.)
God doesn’t wait for them to shape up. God calls them as they are and then works on shaping them into faithful servants. Our yes to God’s work will always put everything in place. Don’t worry about your imperfections. Jesus knows what to do with you.
3. Secondly, Simon Peter protests Jesus’ instructions to go out into the deep waters and let down the nets because he is convinced that the fish are not there.
They have worked all night and caught nothing. We can hardly blame him for his scepticism. Remember he is a professional, this brings to the fore our limitation and God’s supernaturality.
With the physical eyes, many may think low of you, or you may be thinking low of where you are. But where our knowledge and strength ends, God continues. What is impossible in the natural plane is always possible in the supernatural plane.
Let us place everything in the Hands of God, your function is to pray and obey God’s injunctions, only God knows how everything will happen.
How often do we avoid putting out into the deep waters of following and bearing witness to Jesus because we are convinced that we will not see any results?
We are called to go deep-sea fishing with Jesus, to trust and follow him outside our comfort zones, to let go of our certainties, to have our faith deeply rooted in Him.
Depart from Me.
Another is the exclamation of Peter when he says that the Lord should depart from him because he is a sinful man (5:8). This is exactly what Isaiah did.
It is a common biblical motif for a person to feel unworthy in the presence of the divine (Exodus 3:6; 33:20; Judges 6:22; 13:22; Isaiah 6:5; Luke 18:13).
Therefore, being in the presence of God requires humility.
Let us humble ourselves before the mighty throne of God. In His presence we are nothing. When Isaiah and Peter were in the presence of the divine and recognized how sinful they are, God responded immediately to their quest to be cleansed. God did not push them away, and He can never push away anyone who comes to him with a sincere heart.
When you tell Jesus how sinful you are, He will never yell at you, He will never reject you, and rather he will find a way to cleanse you. Therefore, God calls the imperfect to perfection, so let us always approach the throne of mercy and grace with confidence. (Hebrew 4:16).
1. In the first reading, Isaiah’s experience takes place in “the temple” which is the innermost portion of which was known as the “Holy of Holies.” It houses the ark, which was viewed as God’s earthly throne.
Isaiah is aware of standing in the very presence of God and God’s heavenly council. Being in the presence of God shows that He must have been doing that as a lifestyle.
Then In the Lord’s presence, He was called. Also In the gospel, Peter has toiled for long hours and gave up, then being in the presence of Jesus changes His condition and also like Isaiah, He was called.
The first lesson here is that the graces we receive in the Lord’s presence are enormous. There is much to reap in the Lord’s presence. His throne is a throne of grace and mercy.
Secondly, Just like Peter, Paul, and Isaiah encounter mercy, grace and divine call by being in the Lord’s presence, whenever we encounter Jesus we encounter love, mercy, divine grace, forgiveness and peace. Whoever meets Jesus daily will always have these.
2. The miracle in the gospel which is popularly known as the miracle of the great catch is, like others in the gospels, where Jesus does more than one should expect. The exceeding of expectations appears in other miracle stories too, as in the Healing of the Paralytic (Luke 5:17-26), the Feeding of the Multitudes (Luke 9:12-17), and the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11).
The point is that this is an utterly unprecedented catch of fish in a location that seemed hopelessly unproductive the night before. And it was caught at the powerful and authoritative word of Jesus. Therefore, the graces that can come from Jesus can turn any situation around. So, no condition is permanent in His presence.
3.No matter where you are, no matter how small, no matter the circumstance surrounding you, put all your trust in God’s supernatural power. Only God grants the increase. What you do, where you are, and the quantity of what you have are not determinant factors to the grace of God around you.
Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.’” The multitude of fish caught by Jesus’ power and authority is a pointer to what would happen later in the book of Acts and beyond. Remember that in Acts 5:14, “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” Acts 14:1, “In Iconium a large number of people believed, both of Jews and Greeks.”
In essence, by following God’s instructions and trusting in His ever-abiding presence, we always make a great catch.
4. Catching here is not to kill and eat, but to save and feed. The comparison is not between what happens to fish and what happens to people.
The comparison is between trusting Christ to help you gather fish or trusting only in human strength. By trusting in our human strength only, we can make progress but when weakness and mistakes creep in, we fall back and begin to regret it.
But when we trust in God’s presence and grace always, we will always trust and believe that no matter how challenging and bad it seems, we shall always make it. Therefore, by Jesus’ power and authority, multitudes of people will be caught for the eternal kingdom.
5. Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.’” Just as it was James and John (v. 10) and Peter, the human fishermen, who brought in the fish, so it will be human fishermen of men who bring in the people.
Therefore, through our availability and willingness to work and to cast the net, we will make great catches. Therefore let us begin from the little that we have and allow God to use us to make the great catch.
Secondly, therefore, it also entails that the work that we do belongs to God. He gives the strength, the ideas, inspiration, power, people, helpers etc necessary for the work.
Therefore, let us do the much we can, and allow God to grant the increase. The converts that we make come by the grace and power of God.
He says that “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me, so go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-19).
Therefore, Jesus Christ is the decisive power and authority in winning people, but followers of Christ are the instruments of that power, so they need to be willing to cast the net, notwithstanding their weaknesses, the circumstances that surround them and the state of where they are. Only God perfects the imperfect. God calls the imperfect to perfection.
5b.Guess what! Whatever happened today was in the presence of God.
In His presence the imperfect becomes perfect, in His presence grace of work abounds, in His presence the impossible becomes possible. In His presence, the sinner is cleansed.
Therefore, in His presence, great things happen. Let us always be in His presence to receive the unction to function.
6. Finally do not lose hope when people have lost hope in you. Do not worry and kill yourself when others have already marked you off. They are not your God. He may have something that will surprise you already. Peter has lost hope already, but Jesus intervenes in His life.
Therefore, do not worry when things do not work well now. Quit beating yourself up because you are encountering failure presently. What you need to do is to cast the net on another spot. Put it deeper and trust in God to have a great catch.
In essence, try again but now differently. Do not expect to get different results when you do the same thing every time. So, do something different this time.
Let the effort at this time be deeper and then ask God to be with you and trust His grace even when it seems everything is not working well. You may be surprised that it is not that your door has closed but that you needed to try a different strategy. Then always trust in His grace.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to seek Him with all our hearts. May He abide with you even in your difficult moments. Amen.