Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Bible Study Recap: Good News!

Saints Paul Miki and Companions


"Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!" is a favorite exhortation of priests at the conclusion of Mass and with good reason…and this Sunday's Readings enrich this command.

We relished Isaiah's vision, his theophany, the purging of his sins, and his calling in the First Reading. Especially, for me, anyway, a sinner, his purging, and the gloriously anticipatory verses which we hear every time we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Response to the First Reading — particularly the lines "I bow down toward Your holy Temple," and "The LORD will fulfill His purpose in me" certainly echo this. As does Paul's sacred authorship of the Creed in his Letter to the Corinthians.

Peter's call by Jesus grabbed us firmly. Peter's humility, the miracle of the catch…yes, the person to choose to sit in the Barque of Peter.

These Readings are a wonderful reason to be rejoice in being Catholic!

Like Isaiah, we are purged by the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And the Mercy of Purgatory.

We are called, like Isaiah, Peter, and Paul, to "announce the Gospel of the Lord."

We are shown, by Jesus and by His disciples, not to be afraid, but to "catch men…" to become fishers for Jesus!

It was a blessed session, and thank God for that! And we prayed for you…please remember us in your prayers.

Your humble scribe,

The Living Tradition

St. Augustine: Christ says, Give me this fisherman, this man without education or experience, this man to whom no senator would deign to speak, not even if he were buying fish. Yes, give me him: once I have taken possession of him, it will be obvious that it is I who am at work in him…. The senator can always take pride in what he is; so the orator and the emperor, but the fisherman can glory in nothing except Christ alone. Any of these other men may come and take lessons from me in the importance of humility for salvation, but let the fisherman come first. He is the best person to win over an emperor. Remember this fisherman, then, this holy, just, good, Christ-filled fisherman. In this nets cast throughout the world he has the task of catching this nation as well as all the others. (Augustine, Sermon 43, 5-7; trans. E. Barnecut, p. 79)

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Into the Deep

Simon Peter, the fisherman, is the first to be called personally by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel.

His calling resembles Isaiah’s commissioning in the First Reading: Confronted with the holiness of the Lord, both Peter and Isaiah are overwhelmed by a sense of their sinfulness and inadequacy. Yet each experiences the Lord’s forgiveness and is sent to preach the good news of His mercy to the world.

No one is “fit to be called an apostle,” Paul recognizes in today’s Epistle. But by “the grace of God,” even a persecutor of the Church—as Paul once was—can be lifted up for the Lord’s service.

In the Old Testament, humanity was unfit for the divine—no man could stand in God’s presence and live (see Exodus 33:20). But in Jesus, we’re made able to speak with Him face-to-face, taste His Word on our tongue.
Today’s scene from Isaiah is recalled in every Mass. Before reading the Gospel, the priest silently asks God to cleanse his lips that he might worthily proclaim His Word.

God’s Word comes to us as it came to Peter, Paul, Isaiah, and today’s Psalmist— as a personal call to leave everything and follow Him, to surrender our weaknesses in order to be filled with His strength.

Simon put out into deep waters even though, as a professional fisherman, he knew it would be foolhardy to expect to catch anything. In humbling himself before the Lord’s command, he was exalted—his nets filled to overflowing; later, as Paul tells us, he will become the first to see the risen Lord.

Jesus has made us worthy to receive Him in the company of angels in God’s holy Temple. On our knees like Peter, with the humility of David in today’s Psalm, we thank Him with all our hearts and join in the unending hymn that Isaiah heard around God’s altar: “Holy, holy, holy….” (see  also Revelation 4:8).