As you listen and reflect on each of the readings and the Gospel in particular at Mass this weekend, I have a challenge for you. Take note of Isaiah, Paul and Simon Peter's similar view of themselves. Here is Simon Peter's experience in Luke's Gospel:
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon. 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.
When in the presence of God, Simon Peter, like Isaiah, instantly recognized that he was unworthy. Simon's sense of unworthiness was met with Jesus' comforting assurance. And in that moment something profound happened. Notice the progression. First, God made Himself known. Second, recognition of God caused an overwhelming awareness of unworthiness. And then, in that humbled state, Isaiah, Paul and Simon Peter all began a new relationship with God. In that new relationship, God had called them to a purpose.
When you and I come into God's presence we, too, should recognize our complete unworthiness. But by His infinite mercy, God calls us to join in His work. What an amazing love He has for us. Like Isaiah, Paul and Simon Peter we should feel compelled to follow God as a result of our love for Him.
Now take a moment to read the first two verses and the chorus of Michael W. Smith's song.
Never Been Unloved
I have been unfaithful
I have been unworthy
I have been unrighteous
And I have been unmerciful
I have been unreachable
I have been unteachable
I have been unwilling
And I've been undesirable
And sometimes I have been unwise
I've been undone by what I'm unsure of
But because of you
And all that you went through
I know that I have never been unloved
I don't know about you but this humbles me and makes me want to join God in His purpose.