Saturday, February 6, 2010

Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man

This weeks readings all share a common theme – Grace.

God’s Grace or God’s “unmerited favor” on us is his forgiveness of our sin when we have done nothing to deserve it.

It saddens me sometimes when I hear about people who refuse to come to church because they don’t want to be judged. They have it all wrong. It is not about judgment but about forgiveness. And the joy that comes when our sins are forgiven and we are free to know God and to know His love.

Isaiah was one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament and yet he felt unworthy of this great task.

Isaiah 6:4-5

Then I said, "Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"

And despite this, God sent his seraphim to touch Isaiah’s lips to purge his sin.

Instantly, Isaiah was transformed and was ready to do God’s will.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am," I said; "send me!"

We see the same theme in the second reading

Paul is one of the most important writers in the Bible. Paul brought thousands of people to Christ but he never thought himself worthy.

We see that in 1 Corinthians 15:4

For I am the least of the apostles,
not fit to be called an apostle,
because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them;
not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.
Therefore, whether it be I or they,
so we preach and so you believed.

Finally we look at Peter. Peter the hothead who became the Rock upon which Christ would build his church, Peter who denied Christ and was forgiven, Peter who became the first Pope.

Peter knew he was undeserving.

Luke 5:1-11

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.

God does not seek perfect, righteous people – he knows we are flawed and undeserving.

And he seeks us out anyway.

No matter how much we reject him, how often we sin, how much we hide from him – he seeks us out anyway. He is ready to forgive – he wants to forgive.

And in his forgiveness, we are transformed. Even though we remain sinners, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and are ready to do God’s will. Like Isaiah, like Paul, like Peter.

All flawed, all forgiven, and all freed with God’s Grace.

Just like us.


  1. It is a good reminder to be welcoming, and when I say I am Catholic I'm putting it out there. I am a representative of the church.
    What does bring about my ire is the way people expect church goers to be perfect. It seems they forget the whole point of a church being human and filled with sin. Yes, we as Christians need to follow the commands of Christ. However, just because someone at church doesn't live up to the ideal isn't an excuse to quit going or bad mouth the church. We need to remember the church is filled with humans, and isn't going to be perfect. Instead of judgement we need more of the forgiveness, more of the really trying hard to live up to Christ's ideals.

  2. I hear you Tami. Be encouraged. Critics of the church take as much joy with a fallen Christian as we take joy in one that is saved. The difference is that we should continue to take joy in those that stumble and recover in their faith journey. The critics don't care. They only point to the sin as evidence of hypocrisy and don't care if the individual repents and returns. They don't care about the person, only that they can attack. I do feel sorry for them. They look to individuals to be perfect and take a perverse satisfaction when individuals are proven flawed. We look to Christ as the model and we will never be disappointed.