We’ve all got plans… Some of us have big plans – how we’re going to “change the world”… and others have more simple plans to just settle down in our own little quiet corner of the world and live happily ever after. Just one problem with that - few of our plans actually turn out the way we expect them to. Do you think God has anything to do with that? He might…You know, every time we pray, we pray this phrase : thy kingdom come, thy will be done… THY will be done… not MY will be done. So do we mean it? Do we REALLY want God to make HIS will happen in our lives? If we really mean it, “thy will be done” would be the toughest prayer to pray – because we would be giving up all control. We’d be doing what He wants – going where He wants – our plans would mean nothing.On the other hand, if you’ve ever met somebody who DOES pray this prayer and really mean it – there’s something about them… they’ve got this peace about them that the rest of us can only wish for. We THINK that giving-in to God’s will is the hardest thing in the world, but it’s really more like jumping into the river. We just have to take that first step – then let His current carry us.
All three readings show us what happens when we encounter God. It will be so peaceful, won’t it? NOT! Isaiah was sure he was going to die… why? Because he had seen God! “woe is me… I am doomed… for I am a man of unclean lips, yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Why was THAT his reaction to seeing God? The Bible makes it very clear that God cannot look upon evil… he can’t be in the presence of sin…. So if you see God, you’re about to die.
Then in the Gospel, Peter had a similar reaction… once he saw the miracle of the great catch of fish, Peter realized that Jesus was no ordinary Man… He was God !– he fell on his knees (something a Jew would never do for anyone but God) and said “depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man”… he must have been scared to death like Isaiah.
See the common thread? – when WE see God, two things are gonna happen. First – we will realize we are unclean – we are sinful – we are WAY unworthy to be in the presence of God. BUT once we’ve been humbled, we’ll recognize that God isn’t out to kill us… no – we realize He has been calling us… “Whom shall I send”? “Come Follow Me…From now on you’ll be fishers of Men”. You see the pattern? God reveals himself to us – and our first response is to recognize our unworthiness – then out of gratitude, we leave everything to follow him and do his will.
Even Paul had had that experience…. Paul was one of the greatest servants of spreading the Word of God….writing a third of the New Testatment. But before He could do that – he had to be humbled.. so God knocked him off his high horse. Paul had his plans… and those plans included killing all of the Christians… but God changed those plans. Paul’s life was never easy – but he recognized that serving God was the TRUE path to peace.
Do you know anybody who lives like that? Every one of us does to one degree or another – the fact that we’re here in Church right now means that we follow God’s plan at least SOME! I mean, if we weren’t following God’s plan, we’d all still be at home in bed. But do you know anybody who LIVES to do God’s will? I hate to embarrass him, but I think it’s no accident that Fr. Eugene is a priest. He had his plans – his plans included pigs and farming… but at some point, he heard God ask him… whom will I send? And he answered… Send Me! And aren’t we glad he did?!
The other thing about someone who truly seeking God’s will – it’s not a one-time thing. No – it’s an every day – every moment prayer seeking to understand what God’s will is. They’re never satisfied with what they’ve already done- but they’re always looking to improve themselves so that they can do God’s will even better.
For example – last week Fr. Eugene announced at the end of Mass that he hadn’t been doing a good job for several weeks and he promised to do better. Well – most of us misinterpreted that and got worried that something is wrong– but let me explain. He actually recognized through prayer some ways that he felt like he could step it up – ways that God was calling Him to serve even BETTER… so he raised the bar – and again through prayer, he felt like God wanted him to tell us all about it.
What an example of humility for us. What a blessing for us to have someone humbling seeking God’s will to be our shepherd.
No – this is not just a Fr. Eugene Fan Club homily… this challenge applies to each and every one of us. Do we Seek God’s will? Where is he asking YOU to step it up? Do we allow HIS plans to trump our plans? I’m positive that At least one person in here right now has been called by God to be a priest – you know who you are… have we allowed God’s plans to become OUR plans? It’s not just about priests either - EVERY one of us has is being called to do SOMETHING for God every day… to build up His kingdom… to help His people. Put out to deep water! And we all want to make excuses… we’ve been fishing all night and caught nothing… I’m tired… I don’t have the skills… Let somebody else do it…. But once we lower those nets and see the great catch of fish… when we recognize the miracles that come from serving God, then perhaps we’ll recognize that serving Him is the ONLY true path to peace… THEN we can humbly say, “Send Me”…. and leave everything to follow him.