Immersed in Christ
Who, me? Accepting the Call to Evangelize
Sunday, February 6, 2022
Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
by Fr. David M. Knight
Do you feel called to evangelize? Have you an awareness of being called personally, by Jesus himself? Do you think you are not good enough for this?
Isaiah 6: 1-8 takes away a common excuse people use for not evangelizing. Like Isaiah, we feel we just aren’t holy enough. God couldn’t be calling us. Isaiah used a thought-provoking image: “I am a man of unclean lips.” Jesus will cast some light on its meaning: “Good people produce good out of the good treasure of the heart, and evil people out of their evil [hearts] produce evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart….” (Luke 6:45; Matthew 15:18). It is not only through our lips that we express ourselves. Everything we do, every element of our lifestyle, every decision we make says something about who we are. Every “word” of choice creates us. Our “what,” our human nature, is something God created. But our “who,” which identifies us as persons, is something we are constantly creating by our free choices. In this we are like God. In creation, when God said, “Let there be… there was” (Genesis 1:1-25). By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth (Psalm 33:6). This is also true of us as we form our personalities, our souls. By every word of free decision we are choosing to “be” in some particular way. And what we “say” in our choices is what we are. Most of us don’t feel we are doing a perfect job of it. When Isaiah thought this, God’s answer was to send an angel to touch his mouth with a live coal: “Now that this has touched your lips… your sin is blotted out.” Our own sins were, not just “forgiven,” but “blotted out” when Jesus baptized us “with the Holy Spirit and fire.” He “erased” our words of evil choice and made us a “new creation,” not just by touching our lips, but by incorporating our whole selves into his own body on the cross and washing away — that is, annihilating — our sins by his blood, by taking them down to the grave with him in death (Luke 3:16; Colossians 2:14; 2Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:3-4). This frees us to sing with the angels, “Holy, holy, holy! In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord” (Responsorial Psalm: 138:1) and still go out to proclaim him as evangelists — with the lips of Christ. “From now on…” In Luke 5: 1-11 Simon, who wasn’t a “rock” yet, had an “Isaiah moment.” Isaiah had seen angels crying out “Holy, holy, holy, Lord… heaven and earth are full of your glory.” Simon saw Jesus fill his nets by miracle when he had “fished all night and caught nothing.” Both had the same reaction: they felt they were in the presence of someone too holy for them to be around. They were both moved to “worship and bow down” knowing they were “in the presence of… the Lord God.” But they were afraid. Peter said, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” A basic human problem. If we know how holy God is and how sinful we are — both good insights — it keeps us from drawing near to him! But if we realize that the Most Pure chooses to be purifying, the Most Holy to be healing, and that transcendent Sanctity has become our incarnate Savior, we will not be afraid to “put out into the deep water” with Jesus and let him work with us, in us and through us to “catch people.” We will evangelize. Not I but Christ In 1Corinthians 15: 1-11 Paul caught on. He admitted, “ I am unfit to be called an apostle,” but added: “by the grace of God I am what I am…. It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” And so he evangelized. Or as he put it, “Not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” Initiative: Ask yourself this, "When I judge yourself unworthy of evangelizing, what am I forgetting? Make an inventory of what you know about the Good News that you can share.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry