Lord, I Am Not Worthy!

2019년 2월 10일

The theme uniting all three of today’s readings is worthiness. Isaiah was ministering in the Temple, in the room called the “Holy of Holies”, when God appeared to him in a vision. You might recognize the angels’ song of praise: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts!” We use that prayer at every Mass to remind us we are about to enter into the presence of God. Isaiah knew how serious this was. No one can see God and live. He was painfully aware of his own unworthiness as well as the sinfulness of the people. Then an angel takes a glowing coal out of the censor and touches Isaiah’s lips with it to purify him. Ouch! But now when God asks, “Whom shall we send?” he can answer, “Here I am, Lord. Send me!”

St. Paul freely admits he is totally unworthy to be an apostle of Jesus, having not only assisted in the martyrdom of St. Stephen, but also actively persecuting the first Christians. As a matter of fact, he was on his way to Damascus with arrests warrants when Christ appeared to him in a vision. In effect, Paul was sinning when Christ called him! But as he says, “By the grace of God, I am what I am.”

When St. Peter realizes Jesus is not just a preacher and healer, but the Son of God, he begs Jesus to depart from him because he is a sinful man. He is overcome by his unworthiness. But Jesus has plans for this fisherman, and will make him a “fisher of men.”

And so it is with us. When we are aware of God’s presence, we are more acutely aware of our own sinfulness and unworthiness. God tells us, as he told Isaiah, and Paul, and Peter, “Get over yourself!” God knows we are sinful. God knows we are unworthy. But God calls us anyway. God doesn’t call us because we are worthy; God calls us because he loves us.