Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8; 1Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11 “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” (Is 6:8) “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” (Lk5:10b)
I'm grateful to Patricia Livingston who reflected on these readings for the magazine “Living Faith”. She shared a story of someone wondering what they did with all that fish! Hmm! I wonder?
In today's readings we have Isaiah saying in effect "I'm not sure how I might help, but if you need my help to do this, I'm willing to say yes."
Then we have our impetuous friend, Peter, who is given an abundance of fish for his labors and his response in effect was "please, don't give me so much because I won't know what to do with it!" The author in each passage points out that both men could not see past their own limits while God was seeing their potential. This brings to mind a story from my Mom's journey. The time came when Mom needed to leave Yonkers, her home town of 90 years, to live with my brother in Georgia. Then because of failing health, she needed to leave his home to live in a nursing facility. Mom had given away a whole lot of the fish that was put into her "boat", but she wasn't finished yet! She looked around her little boat (you see, it had gotten much smaller as the years went by.) and asked herself “What can I offer now?”
Over the course of three years more than a few afghans were given away and staff received crocheted Christmas boots, regardless of their religious affiliation. But the one 'send me' story that stands out for me is when Mom, who was wheelchair bound at the time, met a woman who was losing her sight. This Protestant woman's heaviest pain in the loss of her sight was that she could no longer read her morning prayers. So, Mom took her ‘eyesight fish’ to Beth's room each day to read her prayer book to her. Instead of "Lord, you ask too much of me now," Mom said "here I am, Lord, send me." Perhaps as we enter this Lenten Season, we might want to check our response when we're asked "what are you doing with the fish still left in your boat?" Will my response be: "Lord, I only have enough left for me. Please, don’t ask me to go.” Or, will I be able to say "I still have a few fish left. If you need them, their yours to give. 'Send me'!"
As we enter this season of Lent, beginning on Wednesday, may we strengthen our resolve to consider not what we don't have, but rather what we do have to simply serve whenever God should ask "Whom can I send?"
Sister Maureen Murphy, OP