The readings which end the short period of ordinary time focus on the call of God’s servants – Isaiah and Peter — as we look forward to the start of Lent in a few days. They each acknowledge their unworthiness when asked to respond to God’s glory, and to fish for people. Isaiah says he is a person of unclean lips, and Peter claims to be a sinful man. Paul picks up on the same theme in the second reading as he confesses that it was God’s grace and not his own effort that made him worthy to be an apostle. So we have three of the greatest servants of God — iconic figures in salvation history — expressing their unworthiness. Their unworthiness is not really shame because they were not mean spirited people. All three had an unforgettable experience of God, which helped them see and assess their human weakness.
The season of Lent, now only a few days away, will urge us to examine our life of discipleship and how we are answering God’s daily call. We may indeed feel unworthy as Isaiah, Peter and Paul and this is okay. What empowers us to hear the question addressed to us as it was addressed to Isaiah: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” God’s mercy will help us answer: “Here I am…send me.” And God’s mercy will sustain us to follow the call, and hear it more clearly and differently at every stage of life.
–Sister Dominica Rocchio, SC
Sr. Dominica, most recently a member of the Congregation’s leadership team, has ministered in education as a teacher, principal, and in administrative positions in the archdioceses of New York and Newark, NJ. In Newark, she served as Superintendent of Schools and Secretary for Education.