Stewardship is a fundamental response to God’s grace and an expression of gratitude. Saint Paul says in today’s Second Reading: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective.” If each of us were to count our blessings, we would have to say the same thing. Please consider what you give to your parish as an act of gratitude for all that God has done for you. Please also consider a gift to the Diocesan Annual Appeal so that our parishes may meet their obligations to the Church in our diocese and throughout the world.
In today’s Gospel Jesus commands his disciples, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” They had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. They had already put in their time, but at his word they invested a little more time and it proved fruitful beyond their hopes. When we invest our gifts according to God’s will, we will know his reward. A fitting response is the opening verse of today’s Responsorial Psalm: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart.”
Today’s Gospel and First Reading are related in two aspects: vocation and unworthiness. Isaiah is called to be a prophet; the first apostles are being called by Jesus to become “fishers of men.” Isaiah is aware of his own unworthiness: “I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips.” Likewise Peter, on his knees after witnessing the miraculous catch of fish, says: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Despite our human sinfulness and unworthiness, God does not give up on us. After all, he has redeemed us! Rather he welcomes us to join with the angels and saints in worship, singing the hymn that Isaiah witnessed in his heavenly vision: “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.” Let us sing this hymn wholeheartedly and worship God sincerely.
Today is World Marriage Day. This observance is sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter and is held on the second Sunday in February each year. World Marriage Day honors husband and wife as the foundation of the family, the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in daily married life.
This Monday morning, February 11, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, is the 27th annual World Day of the Sick. We will celebrate Mass with the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at St. Charles Church at 11:00, followed by lunch. Anyone with a serious or chronic illness may be anointed. I hope that family members or neighbors will try to bring to church any homebound parishioners who are able to come, but cannot usually get to Mass. Those who will receive the sacrament will receive a sticker to identify them as candidates for anointing. Healthcare workers or other care givers are welcome to come, and they will receive a blessing at the end of the Mass.
Pray the Rosary this week for the married couples of our parishes and for their families; for people who suffer from the cold of winter due to a lack of sufficient food, clothing and shelter; for all who are suffering with illness or infirmity; and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.