5th Sunday in Ordinary Time | February 6/7, 2016
Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons
PROTIP: You can take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the second and Gospel readings.
Have you ever had one of those moments in which you sit there going, what have I gotten myself into?
I still remember my first few weeks at Nativity and let me tell you, it was one of those moments.
Here I was, newly ordained, walking into a brand new environment and I was told that I was in charge of our reaccreditation process.
I was assured that this process was pretty straightforward.
Until I began to actually undertake the process and realized that our record keeping had been a tad neglected over the years in the process of trying to educate children.
Suddenly I found myself pouring over old files questioning what I had done wrong to deserve such a terrible fate.
There was a many a day when it all seemed fruitless. I would put in a 10 hour day and feel like I had nothing to show for it.
But I kept showing up. I kept plugging away. Convinced that for some reason, this is where God had placed me.
Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years. And suddenly the day that seemed so far away was here. Our reaccreditation visit.
I remember looking around the school and seeing it as if for the first time. It had evolved into a different place since when I had arrived. And there was a part of me that couldn’t figure out how it had happened. In the daily labors, a part of me had missed the transformation that had been slowly but steadily occurring.
It is probably why I empathize with Peter in our Gospel today.
Because I understand what he was feeling.
I know the sense of futility that comes with working all day with nothing to show for it.
And in that moment, to cast the nets out once more, seems like a meaningless gesture.
But somehow, in his decision to push off from shore once more. In his decision to keep plugging away. In his decision to once again cast out his nets.
He opened himself to God’s grace.
God’s grace that has the ability to transform our labors into miracles beyond our comprehension or imagination.
I believe that we all have our moments in which we are standing with our empty nets.
Those moments in which we ask ourselves . . . what am I doing here?
Is this what I thought my life would be?
Am I even making a difference?
Does any of this even matter?
It hits us all at different times.
The stay-at-home mom who just spent another day chasing her toddler around the house, cleaning up the slew of messes that he leaves in his wake.
The grad student writing another paper for her program that never seems to end.
The teacher who is entering grades and realizes that the kid on academic probation is failing his class.
The nurse who just got screamed at by an irate patient in the final minutes of her 12 hour shift.
The accountant who just spent an entire day attempting to reconcile accounts only to realize that she made a typo and has to begin again.
But if our readings are any lesson to us, it is that in these moments in which we feel inadequate. In those moments in which we feel like there is nothing less to give. In those moments in which things feel futile and hopeless. In those moments in which our nets are empty.
We are asked to remain faithful.
To cast our nets once again, trusting that our God will fill them.
With lives transformed by the work that we do.
With children who grow up to be fine young men and women and patients who return home to their families with health restored and dignity intact.
With lives that breathe easier because of the work we do, the support we have given, the smiles we have shared, and the shoulders we have offered to cry on.
With new horizons that are envisioned and reached by the brainstorming that we do and the hard work that we put into making those dreams reality.
With lives that radiate holiness as we too become prophets, missionaries, apostles and saints . . . in the boardroom and the courtroom, the drive-thru and the classroom, the living room and the parking lot.
So let us push off from shore, my friends. Let us once again cast out our nets. For our catch does await.
May God be Praised.