Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (February 10, 2019)

In today’s readings we experience Isaiah, Paul and Peter coming to recognize that their past sins did not prevent them from becoming true disciples of God. St. Francis de Sales notes: “No doubt, there is a sense of shame when we have been disloyal to God. These feelings of shame are very good when they are used in a constructive way. Shame is only useful if it leads us to rise to an intimate union of our heart with God.” 

We must never remain in shame, or with a sad and unquiet heart. As St. Paul teaches, we “must discard the old nature and put on the new.”  We must clothe ourselves with God, and lift up our hearts in holy confidence to God. The foundation of our trust is in God and not in ourselves. Our well being derives from letting ourselves be led and directed absolutely by God’s Spirit, who transforms us through divine love. 

While the saints saw in themselves many imperfections, this did not stop them from doing God’s work. God left in several of the dear disciples many marks of their evil inclinations for some time after their conversion, all for their greater good. For example Peter who stumbled many times after his initial calling failed miserably in denying God. 

We cannot expect to be a saint in an instant. We must little by little and step by step acquire a self-mastery that the saints took years to acquire. Be patient. Leading us by the hand, God does with us deeds that call for our cooperation Some trees bear fruit every year, others every three years. Let us be content that God will let us bear our fruit sooner or later. 

During this long pilgrimage on earth, God’s Goodness is willing to lead us and carry us. Yet, God always wants us to take our little steps alone, doing on our part all that we can in virtue and good works, helped by God’s love.  

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)