Feb. 7, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8
Psalm 138:1-5, 7-8
2) 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 or 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, 11
Gospel: Luke 5:1-11
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls his first disciples to follow him and join his mission to bring all people to God’s way of life.
His offer is convincing: Having the audacity to teach experienced fishermen how to fish, he demonstrates that if they follow his direction they’ll achieve a greater haul than they could attain themselves.
Jesus’ message is to all of us: Trust that by following his way you will draw people into his fold.
By contrast, a refrain we often hear in our social enterprises today, “Build it, and they will come,” is based on a belief in the pre-eminent power of our own will — through marketing.
However, any city planner will tell you: Build it in the wrong place and “they” won’t come, no matter how slick your marketing.
I learned how wise planning creates healthy, vibrant communities from my friend Joel, a longtime city planner in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Indeed, communities hire planners to direct development and growth to best serve the people’s needs. Build to enhance their lives and they will not only come but they’ll participate.
No wonder Joel, also a devoted Christian, understands how to respond to the call to build and develop Jesus’ community. He knows that Jesus’ instruction to “put out into deep water” means to go where God is most needed.
Joel and his wife chose for their faith community not a well-established congregation but a small church in a struggling low-income neighborhood where the people were open to God’s grace and just waiting to be “caught.”
Indeed, Jesus’ way brought in a large haul there.
Joel showed me a small neighborhood park that he and fellow church members developed, with the city’s blessing, on city property across the street from the church.
A local landscape architect volunteered to design the park. Then at-risk teens from the neighborhood joined with the church youth group to do the landscaping with plants and materials donated by local suppliers. Children from the nearby grade school created and installed small outdoor sculptures, and other businesses contributed a sprinkler system and benches.
As the park became a center of neighborhood pride and activity, more people came to the church, drawn by the congregation’s embrace and care for its community.
Following the ways of Jesus, by what means might you bring others to a life with him? What have been your most effective methods of evangelizing?