Ordinary Time

Homily on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 6, 2022 Mass
Speaker: Fr. Lam Le

Here I am,” I said; “send me! (Is 6:8)

The First Reading today recounts the call of Isaiah to be a prophet.  The singing of the Seraphim at that “lofty throne” of our God, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!” (Is 6:3), reminds us of every Mass we join in the Preface Acclamation: “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.  Hosana in the highest.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest” (see “The Order of the Mass,” in Roman Missal, Third Edition, no. 21).  This leads to two-point homily.

First, when we participate in any liturgical celebration of the Church, especially the Mass, we are not alone.  The saying from above makes up the first part of our Preface Acclamation indicated so specifically in the phrase: “God of hosts.” “Hosts” signifies an army or multitude of angels and saints, giving us a vivid image of the heavenly choir. So, every time we at Mass, we pray with the entire Church: First, the glorious Church represents the saints. Second, the suffering Church, all the souls in purgatory at the foot of the altar waiting the fullness of Christ’s redemption as St. Paul proclaimed in the Second Reading today: “I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins. . . ;that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1Cor 15:3-4). Third is the pilgrim Church that is us.  Even in circumstances where a priest offers Mass without the presence of the faithful, the Preface Acclamation taught us that he is not alone “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.”

Second, just as Isaiah received the call to be the prophet while experiencing the heavenly court, we, by our participation in the Holy Eucharist, the foretaste of the heavenly banquet, are commissioned to be Christ’s disciples.  Those who pay close attention to the text of the liturgy will note that until the Missale Romanum, editio typica altera 2002 (MR 2002) the only Latin text for the dismissal is: Ite, missa est/Go forth the mass is ended.  Pope Benedict XV I in his post-synodal exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis no. 51 noted: “The people of God might be helped to understand more clearly the essential [missionary] dimension of the Church’s life, taking the dismissal as the starting point.” From this intervention of the Pope, in October 2008, three new formulas for dismissal were added to the amended version of MR2002: Ite, ad evangelium Domini annuntiandum/Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord; Ite in pace, glorificando vita vesta Dominum/Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life; and finally, Ite in pace/Go in peace.  Whichever option that the deacon (in his absence, the priest) chooses for the dismissal, it is clearly a call for each member of the Church to “Go out” and offer his/her very self “as a living sacrifice, holy, and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship” (Rm 12:1). Another way to put it, at the end of Mass, we are called by the Lord like he called Simon in the Gospel today: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” (Lk 5:4).

During every Eucharistic celebration, we have glimpse of the heavenly court and within that vision God strengthens us to cast into the deep.  We participate in the Eucharist not to be passive believers, but invigorated disciples of Christ! Amen.

Scriptural Readings: Reading I Is 6:1-2a, 3-8; Responsorial Psalm Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8; Reading II 1 Cor 15:1-11; Alleluia Mt 4:19; Gospel Lk 5:1-11


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