Somewhere along the line, we were all taught that worrying and complaining were a waste of time. Worrying and complaining accomplish nothing. There’s even the old expression: worrying and complaining are like rocking in a rocking-chair — it gives us something to do, but it gets us no where.
In life we all worry — we all complain — at times, we all feel sorry for ourselves and/or our life situation.
The extreme situations of worrying and complaining invoke such words as the following: NOBODY has it as bad as me! Why do ALL THE BREAKS go to someone else? EVERYBODY seems happy except me!
self-deprecation can even lead many of us to say: If they only knew me and all about me, they would have no use for me.
Everyone has friends …. but poor me, I am all by myself … I have to do all this work without any help.
This is so far away from the words we heard last weekend … when God reminded us that he knew us before we were conceived in the womb. He knew us … and he had a plan for us … a unique plan for us.
Then — in this weekend’s scripture we find three characters …. chosen by God … who bemoan their situations and lower themselves beneath the special place God had for them.
There is Isaiah [6;1-2, 3-8] who cries out: Woe is me! I am doomed! I am a man of unclean lips!
In the second scripture reading [1Cor 15:1-11], there is Paul “I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle.”
Then there is the Gospel: [Luke 5:1-11] in which Peter cries out: Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
There are lots of excuses for not doing the work of God — there are a lot of excuses for why we cannot meet the expectations the Lord has for us. The saddest, and perhaps the weakest, of all the excuses is: poor me … I cannot do anything … I am not as good as him/her. God did not give me any special gifts. I cannot speak too well. I have no nice clothes. My education is not as good as his/hers. I have made too many mistakes.
Here is some other ways of thinking: Paul – by the grace of God, I am who I am!!
Isaiah — whose lips were purged and whose wickedness was removed — says, “Here I am, send me!”
Peter hears the compassionate words of Jesus — do not be afraid … from now on, you will be ______________.
Sometimes people will try to put us down … sometimes we bear it, knowing it is not the truth or it is not who we really are. Sometimes we have to respond … as did Cardinal Mahony this week when he was publicly shamed by Archbishop Gomez. Humble people sometimes say, “enough is enough” and they respond with the truth. They refuse to allow someone else to define them or limit them.
God is about to call each of us to a renewed commitment to an old task , i.e. trying again to fish where we have caught nothing… or perhaps to a new task will come to us — doing something different.
He who calls us — will ready us. He who calls us will empower us. He who calls us will sustain us.
Over the years I have seen so many people who have stayed stuck in the “woe is me” pit. Too many people have been trapped in the “stinkin thinkin” of “I am not as good as the rest of mankind.” Too many people have been unable to move beyond a sin or mistake — to be redeemed and reconciled with God. These are terrible traps — truly a SAD way of being.
It is your party and you “can cry if you want to”. Or, you can wipe the tears, be purged, feel the love of God …. and experience love through action.
Literally — we make the choice.