..first look at our first reading week ago Sat 2 Feb feast of Our Lords Presentation in Temple.. ..prophet Isaiah looks across threshold into heaven, & in despair, voices gulf/chasm between what he glimpsed & how he felt in his own sinful condition.. “what a wretched state I am in” a beautiful poem written by a Presentation Sister, Sr Raphael Considine..coincidence or work of Holy Spirit her poem should come to mind on the feastday of her Order? ..her poem is called Trasna..Celtic description for the crossing place.. “a graced life story” crossing from our unworthiness into the presence of an all forgiving loving & merciful God.. ..here & now our moment to make & pray a stage, a new chapter, in that crossing..
“..a voice they knew called to them saying “this is Trasna, the crossing place..choose..” ; Lord have mercy “..go back if you must; you can pitch your tent by yesterdays fires; there may be life in the embers yet..” ; Christ have mercy “..what is my quest? what am I seeking? this is Trasna, the crossing place..come!” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“how many times so far today have you seen God?” not “have you seen him?” but ”how many times have you seen him?” in OT times the gulf between holiness purity of God & sinfulness of humankind was taught & indoctrinated..hence poor Isaiah’s desolation in 1st rdg at feeling that gulf/chasm finishes with a “final straw moment”“what a wretched state I am in! I am lost..a man of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips” all gloom & doom & then final straw “& my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of hosts” to see God was kiss of death; Elijah on journey is suddenly gripped by scruff of neck & put face in to cleft in rock,until God, about to walk by, had passed..then he could come out to play again..& in gospel, far from denying Peter & his crew a glimpse of God, Jesus plays them playfully at their own career as professional fishermen..notice how gently he does it..gets into Simons boat & asks him “to put out a little from shore” so too with you & I..catches sight of you in this our boat; you in crew space/nave..[navus..navy..crew]..& he asks us to “put out a little” to allow him to teach from our boat; to tell crowds in village your home my community who/what we’ve seen & learned in recent days, good news of sightings of God..you & I experts; sadly rather like experts who found wreck of plane off Channel Islands last Sun..crew with knowledge of weather tides winds sea conditions told them to seek in area of only 4 square miles, & within hour of beginning they located wreck; how do we as practising Catholics come to terms with sad news of Nissan’s decision to build its new 4x4 not in Sunderland but in Japan?..could you lead a disillusioned car worker, working day/night shifts 24x7 to keep up with demand, into the presence of God in his “final straw moment?”..“we worked hard all night & caught nothing” ..& Jesus said then to professional fishermen “put out into the deep & pay out your nets for a catch” imagine a wandering preacher, new kid on block of questionable reputation, trying to tell experts what to do..& key moment is when “final straw moment” is heard & responded to..Peter grasps final straw “but if you say so”..all our expertise evidence tides & moods tells us otherwise but “if you say so” “let it be done to me according to your word” “here I am Lord, I come to do your will..whom shall I send?..who will be my messenger?” & Isaiah answered “here I am, send me” & pray what is your answer here & now?..it is a “final straw moment” which self activates the miracle..does God perform miracles? No..does God enable inspire invite you to perform miracles? absolutely..without God, with a self certificated attempt to make catch of lifetime & walk on water it’s mission impossible..to attempt it having seen God face to face 4times so far today, his real presence & hearing his invitation into a divine partnership, where together..his grace & your real presence, the miracle comes true..”netting such a huge number of fish” it couldn’t happen here could it..could it?..from Berwick beach salmon fishermen work exactly same as on Sea of Galilee..row out off beach gently feeding out net, making huge circle & coming back to land where they left from..few moments later using hand pulley slowly draw net in..until moment of reckoning..nothing..cast after cast; wrong wind direction; tide too full ;crew off form..every parish tell of falling numbers, elderly stalwarts, few young able prepared to commit ; fewer passengers & very very few crew..& then a last pay of net..”if you say so” & we net a full boat, a full Church; we signal to St Hilda’s to come to help us, filling both boats/Churches to sinking point..”dream on Bede”..& if that’s the mood & reaction, we might as well keep washing nets, dusting pews/ counting money& rearranging chairs on Titanic ”we’ve worked hard last 34yrs & caught nothing” but “if you say so”..if still you’ve faith in me, having looked me in face & heart & seen real me “Lord a sinful man/ woman” & not in spite of my sinfulness but because of it, you’ve still got faith in me.. ”if you say so”..listen to his gentle call to us a motley/beloved crew, out of our spectatorship, maintenance & self protectionism in this famous little family boat of a parish..”who will be our messenger?”..”here I am, send me” really?..are you up for it?..to signing up for a lanyard labelled “crew” at the end of this Mass? “if you say so”.. [5thSunYrC Lk5;1-11]