St. Rita Roman Catholic Church
1008 Maple Dr.
Webster, NY 14580
Weekend Masses: Saturday- 5:00pm
Sunday- 7:30am; 9:00am (children's liturgy); 10:30am
Daily Mass is at 8:15am on Monday, Tuesday,
Thursday, and Friday (no Mass on Wednesday)
Reconciliation: Saturday from 3:30-4:30pm
Office Hours: M-Th 9am to 4:30pm; Fri 9-12:00pm

The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass
"Do not be afraid; from now on you will be 
catching men." -- Luke 5:11
   WHOM SHALL I SEND? HERE I AM, SEND ME - This Sunday's readings serve to focus our attention on the sinful person, reluctant and afraid, but called by God none the less. For it is by and through God's grace that we may serve. 
    Today's Gospel (Luke 4:21-30) is the call of Simon, the fisherman. Simon's response,"depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man" is understandably human.
    "While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.' Simon said in reply, 'Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.' 
    "When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them.  They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, 'Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.' For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.' When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him."
    In our first reading (Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8), we hear the same lament at the moment of Isaiah's calling, "Wow is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips." And yet, but the grace of God, Isaiah is made clean. 
    "In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above. They cried one to the other, 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!' At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, 'Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!' Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it, and said, 'See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.' Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?' 
'Here I am," I said; "send me!'" 
    In our Epistle reading (1 Corinthians 15:1-11), Saint Paul reminded his beloved community of the truths of the Gospel he had preached to them, and of the tremendous grace by which he, "born abnormally", had been chosen by God to preach and to serve. 
    "I am reminding you, brothers and sisters, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. 
    "After that, Christ appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me. Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed."

    Would you suppose that the practice of God calling sinful people had ended two thousand years ago? Not at all. As we have heard in Paul's letters over the past few weeks, there are many gifts of the Spirit and many ways in which we are called to serve God. Perhaps we should take a moment to reflect on how God is calling each of us. And perhaps remember the times we ignored the call because in our on way, we said, "Master, depart from me for I am a sinful person". To which, Jesus responds, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men."  May we have the grace to hear God's call and, like Isaiah, say "Here I am, send me". 
  • Click HERE for the full readings for February 7, 2016