Saturday, January 30, 2016

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year C

Fifth Ordinary Sunday



Points to note

Although a seemingly simple narrative, this reading is deep in significance and meaning.  I would like to focus on the aspect of the commissioning of Peter and how it relates to an ordination of a priest.  There have been various recent ordinations in our parish in recent years and it will be good to get the children’s eyewitness accounts of the celebrations.

The way the readings followed on from Second Sunday of the year could cause confusion with some of the children.  In that reading, the wedding at Cana, Jesus had just picked up his apostles before the first miracle whereas here is what seems to be a different account of how he picked up his apostles. Well, it is different viewpoint of the same story by a different author.  That is why we say ‘Gospel according to St Matthew/Mark/Luke/John’.  Each author gives a refreshingly different perspective.


Acclamation before the Gospel
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Follow me, says the Lord,
and I will make you fishers of men.

Jesus was travelling outside is home region because he was not wanted there:  a prophet is not welcomed in his hometown.

The Lord be with you.
All:   And also with you.

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Luke
(Lk 5:1-11)
Jesus was standing one day by the lake of Galilee, with the crowd pressing around him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank.  The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.  He got into one of the boats - it was Simon’s - and asked him to put out a little from the shore.  Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and put out your nets for a catch.”  “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will put out the nets.”  And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boats to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, “Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.”  For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners.  But Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on, it is men you will catch.”  Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.


Go through the story again, highlighting the aspects that relates to the commissioning of Peter.  Refer to the companion adult’s leaflet for guidance on this.

Has anyone been for an ordination mass?  There has been one ordination in each of the last few years.  Get those who have attended these masses to recount what happened at an ordination mass.

Draw parallels with the reading: 
·     the candidate for ordination lies prostrate before the bishop just as Peter clutches the knees of Jesus (one is not symbolic of the other:  I just put that in because I think it is interesting);
·     it is the bishop who ordains a priest just as Jesus commissioned Peter (due to the apostolic succession, bishops’ validity are transmitted by an unbroken line that traces back to the apostles who were ordained by Jesus himself: this means that every bishop we have today has been ordained by a bishop, who was ordained by a bishop, who was ordained by a bishop …… who was ordained by a bishop, who was ordained by one of the Apostles, who was ordained by Jesus);
·     at one point in the mass the candidate has to respond to questions about his calling just as Peter had to respond to Jesus’ call;
·     the newly ordained priest has to leave everything just as Peter did:  Jesuit and other religious priests (ie., those who are not diocesan priests who takes care of a parish for a bishop) takes three vows at their ordination
1.          vow of poverty: they may not own or possess any property; all properties are held by the Jesuit Order
2.          vow of chastity: they may not get married
3.          vow of obedience: they must obey their superior

Discuss the implications of these three vows and what the priests are committed to do.


If you have time, discuss the significance of the fish symbol.  It symbolises both the miracle of the catch we heard today and the miracle of the loaves and two fishes.  Later, it became a secret sign among persecuted Christians.  It was painted on the walls of catacombs to remind Christians of Jesus’ call for them to be fishers of men.  The initials of the phrase Jesus Christ, Victor in Greek also spelt out the Greek word fish.  Often in the catacombs, a drawing of a fish was accompanied by the Greek word below it.  When a Christian sees a symbol of a fish in an unfamiliar catacomb, he is assured that he is in a holy place where other Christians also worship.

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