February 10, 2019 Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Homily

What powerful readings that we have just heard from the Holy Scriptures. What I mean by powerful is that the readings make us think twice of how we would behave if we suddenly found ourselves in the Divine Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many of us would like to think that if Jesus suddenly appeared to us, we would run towards Him and hug Him. Our words would probably be, “Finally Jesus, I waited so long for You,”,”Good to see you Jesus, take me home” or “Oh Jesus, I love you.”
But these were not the responses of Isaiah, Paul and Peter people from today’s readings. The prophet Isaiah viewed himself as a great sinner among sinners, he not being worthy of being in the Divine Presence of Yahweh. Paul, still full of guilt for having persecuted the Holy Catholic Church instituted by Jesus, viewed himself as being unfit of being called an apostle. And Peter, the first Pope, begged Jesus to get away from him because he was a sinful man.


Why you don’t go to church anymore asks one friend another one? He answers: because church is full of hypocrites! Don’t worry he says, there is always place for one more. Please come!


Yes. The church is full of hypocrites. We all say one thing and do another at times. Look around you into the world you live in and tell me everything is perfect, there is no sin in the world, no need for change for better.             The great thing about the gospel message is that a whole bunch of hypocrites can gather together and find purpose, hope and forgiveness from Jesus!
Are we not sinners living among sinners? “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” [1 John.1:8]

As sinners, are we worthy of being in the Divine Presence of the Lord? Or, should we also fall on our knees and say, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful person!”
Isaiah, Paul and Peter were blessed. They perceived the divinity of the Lord. As the Book of Revelation tells us, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

These early Church saints perceived that they who were unholy and unworthy of being in the presence of Him, Who was the Most Holy. Most likely, they asked themselves, “Why me?” “Why do you come to me Lord?” “Can you not find someone else who is more holy than I am?” Knowing what they were, frail creations of God, they humbled themselves before the Lord.
How did the Lord God react to the sincere state of mind and heart of these three men, children of His? He forgave the sins of each one of them and gave them a mission to fulfill.

Isaiah was called to bring the Israelites to repentance. Paul was called to bring others to follow Jesus. Peter was called by Jesus to assist Him in His ministry and to provide leadership to the Holy Catholic Church after the death and glorious Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The question is not who we are, but who we want to become, and who is going to help us?
As history tells us, in each case, the grace of God has not been in vain. Isaiah, Paul and Peter were most grateful to the Lord God for having chosen them and they have made a great effort to answer their calling to the best of their capabilities. This is not to say that they were perfect. Isaiah wished at times that God had chosen someone else because the people would not listen to him. St. Paul started on the wrong track by persecuting the Christians. St. Peter ran and denied Jesus during the last twenty- four hours of His life. All of them were weak. All of them made mistakes. But, what was most important, all of them had sincere hearts and overcame their weaknesses by placing their complete trust in the Lord God and asked for forgiveness.
Going back to my original question, “How would we behave if we suddenly found ourselves in the Divine Presence of the Lord Jesus?”

You see, Jesus is physically present in the Holy Eucharist and in the Holy Tabernacle.

In the physical presence of the Lord, do some of us genuflect piously before Him? Do some of us half genuflect as a habit and forget why we are doing it? Or, do some of us pass before the Holy Tabernacle without displaying any honor and respect and recognition towards the Lord Jesus?

Sometimes when I have a funeral Mass and I see people sitting with there legs crossed like in a bar,they don’t recognize the presence of the Eucharist, don’t take their hat off, comfortable as almost as with a drink or coffee and a cigarette in there hands and no matter who walks into the bar, a woman, a senator, a president or God himself for them there is no difference, what is the most important for them is to sit comfortably, they don’t care what is happening around them. They don’t even react when Gospel is read or consecration takes place!

The thought will cross my mind: Wow! Pagans of our time some of them maybe even raised by Catholics. They don’t know and understand what is happening! They came for the respect of the deceased but they don’t respect or understand faith anymore. What they will truly do when they will find themselves in the presence of Jesus?

Like Isaiah, Paul and Peter, we are not perfect, we cannot deny that we are weak, but we do have sincere hearts. Because Jesus has been gone in his bodily presence for a long time, we are tempted to forget about Him. And, by modeling after those who are weaker than we, we are easily influenced to live as though Jesus does not exist.

To ensure that we would never forget Him, over and above the many invisible gifts that have been given to us, Jesus gave us many visible gifts as reminders that He is our Lord and God.

He gave us His Holy Church to which we belong as members of his Body. He gave us the Church leadership that has handed down the Tradition since the days of the incarnation of God on earth. He gave us the Holy Bible as His inspired Word. He gave us the Sacraments. He gave us the Sacramentals like Holy Water and Holy Rosary, so we can remember him in our daily lives. Every generation, He gave us saints to prove to us that it is possible to love and serve Him in all humility; miracles have been manifested as an affirmation that it was God’s Divine Will for the saints to be canonized.
Jesus never left us alone. Over and above His physical Divine Presence in the Holy Eucharist, He has given us many visible gifts that can be seen with our eyes.