Individuals throughout all of history have been called by God to take on special roles, special tasks. It is almost universal that those people God chooses are reluctant. They believe they aren’t brave enough, they aren’t strong enough, they aren’t worthy enough.
But then something happens, a change occurs. There is an experience they have that enables them to accept the invitation from God to do the work they are called to do.
It seems that the Holy Spirit awakens an energy, something in the human soul that has been there all along, but needs to be challenged, needs to be brought to life.
It’s as though God is saying: “Don’t worry about where you’ve been. Don’t worry about what you’ve done. I can take care of that.”
In the first reading, the angel takes a burning ember and places it against the lips of the Prophet Isaiah. It’s as if the angel is saying: I am burning your lying lips so you know that’s over. It’s in the past. Don’t worry about your past sins anymore. I want you to be able to feel the strength of the Spirit working in you.
We have an image of a repentant sinner being called to be an instrument of God, being called to holiness. Repentant sinners often have a sense of being touched by God and transformed by God.
In the second reading Paul tells us that many have been called to follow Jesus. And those who are called have been strengthened and encouraged.
In the beginning, Paul was a person who was constantly persecuting the church. Then the Spirit came upon him blinding his eyes. Only then is Paul able to see that he’s been doing the opposite of what God is asking. Now Paul is going to have the wisdom and the courage to be an Apostle doing the work that God has called him to do.
In the gospel, Jesus is calling ordinary people from their ordinary lives to become extraordinary disciples. He does this by simply giving advice about where to catch fish. Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your calling, at your command, I will lower the nets.
Peter senses that Jesus is not just an ordinary man. There is something about Jesus that is more than he had ever experienced. All of the disciples felt the power of the Spirit working through Jesus.
The first thing Peter thinks is: Get away from me Lord because I am not worthy of being around someone like you. I am not good enough.
But Jesus says to Peter: Look, I see you as someone extraordinarily good. I see you as someone who has the potential to follow me. I am calling you to your destiny. I want you to live the life that I am calling you to live.
Jesus wants us to recognize our humanity. That we are basically selfish. That we are basically flawed. And that we make choices that are not necessarily wise.
We are like Isaiah, we lie. We are like Paul, sometimes choosing the wrong path. And we are like Simon Peter, thinking we are not good enough or holy enough.
That’s when Jesus says to us: That’s ok. That’s what it means to be human, but I would like you to step out in trust. I am inviting you to follow me. I am inviting you to trust the power of the Spirit that I send you.
Individuals throughout all of history have been called by God to take on special roles. It is almost universal that those called are reluctant, including ourselves.
If Simon Peter and Paul and Isaiah can follow the Lord, then so can we.