From the pastor’s desk
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time-Year C– Experiencing Divine presence
In our Judeo-Christian beliefs, we experience God as a great mystery. God cannot be defined or limited.
To define him is to limit him who is infinite. God is the supreme spirit who exists of himself and is infinite
in all perfection. He is the transcendent Being who at the same time is immanent; he is the wholly-Other, as
Rudolf Otto would say: the ‘numinous or the ‘mysterium, tremendum et fascinans.’ He is the great mystery before us, who at the same time, fascinates us and inspires reverential awe in us. He is omnipotent-all
powerful. He is all-holy, omniscient-all knowing and omnipresent-present everywhere. In our Christian
tradition, he is the Holy Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Three Divine Persons-equal in majesty,
undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in everlasting glory.
In the year King Uzziah died between 742 BC and 738 BC, the prophet Isaiah was keeping a vigil in the
temple of Jerusalem when he had the experience of the heavenly realm with God seated on his lofty
throne receiving the worship of the Seraphim. With this vision, the prophet came to the realization of his
unworthiness. Cleansed of his wickedness and sins, he was able to hear the call of God to be his messenger and he was able to respond: “here I am, send me.”
Called to be prophets of God, we are not alone. The message we are given are not our own, but God’s. We
must find ourselves situated in the scriptures, in the various models of faith whom God called before us and
be fitted into the ways they responded to the call of God and please God as they did. We are fellow citizens
with the saints, built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the capstone.
In this way, we make their experiences our own, their faith will be our faith. We follow Jesus as they did.
Peter provided Jesus his boat as a platform from which to teach the crowd. Afterwards, with the miraculous
catch of fishes, he came to realize his unworthiness like the prophet Isaiah, with his shipmates, James and
John, sons of Zebedee, they left everything and followed Jesus.
Like Peter, James and John, how do you in your life, experience the Divine presence so as to follow Jesus
more closely? What do you sacrifice in order to follow Jesus ? Our experience of the Divine Presence must be within the holy Church, symbolized by the boat of Peter and the apostles. Our experience must be in line with the teaching authority of the Church and the revealed truth handed down to the Church and transmitted from generation to generation through the apostolic tradition and succession. St. Paul would count everything as loss for the supreme good of knowing Our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Paul’s experience of Our Lord Jesus Christ
was authenticated by the revealed truth received by the Christian Community. He speaks about the life, death
and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ who revealed himself to Peter, the Twelve, five hundred brothers
at once, James, all the apostles and last of all to himself. This is the gospel preached by St. Paul which he
received and handed down to us. This is the gospel we have received and must hand down to others. In
every holy Mass, the mystery of God’s presence is before us; like Isaiah, Peter, Paul and other models of
faith, we are called to experience God who reveals himself to us and to respond as they did.
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, PhD