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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s theme is the different ways in which God calls people to his service. Isaiah lived in the eighth century BC. The first reading gives the context of his vision. King Uziah had just died. He was a very effective king of Judah but he grew proud, sinned against the Lord and was struck down with leprosy. It would seem that the people had gone astray as well. Kings were very important to the Jews, being their leaders and warriors. As the supreme leader who guarded his people, God was pictured as a king in the Old Testament. The scene here is similar to those in the books of Daniel and Revelation, where colourful images are used to emphasize his glory. Even the seraphs protect their eyes with their wings so as not to be overcome by His presence. Smoke filling the temple was a sign of that presence. Like Peter in the gospel, the prophet is overawed by what he has seen and feels his unworthiness. However, when the coal has touched his lips he seems to regain his confidence and actually asks to be  sent as a messenger.

The calling of the apostles was a very different scenario. Jesus - God made man - seemed very ordinary. It was only when his friends saw the wonders that he did that they began to see him in a new light. There is no dramatic setting like a throne room. It is the miraculous draught of fish that is the catalyst and the symbol of what the fishermen were being called to do.

God speaks to us in many ways - sometimes in dreams as He did to St Joseph, but often in something someone says, or in a line from scripture, or perhaps an encounter with nature. We need to be sensitive in discerning the path he has chosen for us.