Sunday Gospel reflections: Where do we see God’s face?

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

"The Miraculous Draught of Fishes" by Raphael (1483–1520). Photo: Public Domain

In response to the miraculous turning of scarcity into abundance, Peter says to Jesus, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” Peter’s response to a real encounter with God is to recognize his unworthiness. It is not uncommon when we meet Jesus through the innocence, goodness, or vulnerability of others that we, like Peter, can feel inadequate. If not checked, this can evolve into self-hatred, which then can be turned toward others and expressed as anger. Our inability or unwillingness to accept ourselves as imperfect is often the reason why we judge and hurt others.

Jesus does not try to change Peter’s sense of himself by offering pretty compliments. He tells Peter he has a mission to bring God’s compassion to others and he should get on with it! Jesus knows that the route to self-acceptance is through putting others first. Self-fulfillment is not something we give ourselves; we find it when we give of ourselves, in a healthy way, to another. In this way, responding charitably to those in need is not an act of pity but of redemption.

It is hard to see the face of God by looking in the mirror. It is much easier to see the face of God in the countenance of another person who is asking for our time, care, and love.

  — Joseph Vorstermans


Isaiah 6:1–2A, 3–8

Psalm: 138:1–2, 2–3, 4–5, 7–8

1 Corinthians 15:1–11 or 1 Corinthians 15:3–8, 11

Luke 5:1–11

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