My homily may well have been less well ordered today, because I planned on preparing it today, and then got caught up in many other things (such as dealing with lots and lots of snow), and had a real time trying to focus my thoughts.
I didn't write any notes, so all I can share with you are some points I attempted to make; along the way, I'll share the thoughts that lay behind my homily tonight, such as it was.
What caught my eye was the contrast between the first reading and the Gospel: in each case, an encounter with God. The first happens in church (in the temple)--where we expect and hope to encounter God--that's why we come. The second happened at work--where we may not be expecting to encounter God, but we need to, as do those we work for.
Look at what happened in this Gospel story. Simon is hard at work, and he's ready to go home. Jesus comes and choose his boat to sit in; now he can't go home. How long will this preacher talk?
When our Lord finishes, he says, put out over there--you'll get a catch.
When we had the workers painting the outside of church this past summer, imagine if I'd come along, and said to the workers, you know, you could do a better job if you did it this way. Imagine what would they say? "Oh, you think so, do you?" I wonder if that's what Simon Peter said to Jesus! But then he gets a catch--and he realizes the miracle. He knew there wasn't any fish in that lake! That's when he falls to his knees and calls out Lord.
This got me thinking about how Christ needs to be heard and met in the workplace--who will go? Who will take him there? We may think this is the priest's job; but my calling as a priest is to sanctify you; and you--as laypeople--in turn, are called to sanctify the world. That is your role and privilege through your baptismal priesthood. You meet folks I never see; and you have credibility with folks where a priest won't.
This got me thinking along another line as well. Something about this passage seemed to say something in particular to us men. Let's face it, men--when we come to church, we are in the minority; for whatever reason, a lot of our fellow men don't see spirituality as their thing. But was there something unmanly about Isaiah being overwhelmed by God's presence? We all need that--and hopefully, we all experience that at some point in our lives. You and I as men need to be speaking to our fellow men, and calling them go deeper and to encounter the Lord.
So what do you say folks? Are you ready to fishing for the Lord? To catch souls for him? Who is sending? He's sending you--into the workplace, wherever you go, to bring him there, so people meet him. We encounter him here, in church--like Isaiah; but the whole world needs to meet him. We can wait till they come here; or we can go fishing for the Lord.