Saturday, 30 May 2015

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

In life, we often come across different situations where some level of risk is involved. For example, when we buy shares or unit trusts, we are taking a risk with our money, since the shares or unit trusts could increase in value, or even go bust totally. When we get into a relationship, we are also taking some risk, since we would not be able to tell whether such a relationship will lead to a life-long one or would eventually lead to a break-up. It does not matter how big or small the risk may be, but most of us would need to face some form of risk in one way or another. The problem is, we do come across some people who are afraid of taking risks. It seems much easier doing things that are familiar than it is to do something which is new. Why are some people so afraid to take risks? Because what some of us actually fear is failure. We fear that we will not be able to finish what we have started; or we will not get the results we desired; or that others will laugh at us for our stupidity or incapabilities; or that if we fail in this task, we would also fail for the rest of our lives.

In today's Gospel, Jesus is inviting all of us to take courage and take risks. In the Gospel, Jesus told Peter to "put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch." Peter would have found such an instruction difficult to follow, since he had already failed to catch any fish after trying so hard. After we have failed, some of us often are hesitant to try again and become discouraged. We try to avoid making the same mistakes and try to do something else which we believe would lead to a better chance of success. However, Peter chose to take the risk again, and as a result, he succeeded in catching so many fish that two boats were filled to sinking point. What does this mean to us? It means that being a Christian means being willing to take risks. When people are invited or asked to become a catechist, a BEC coordinator or a leader in some ministry, many often decline, giving all sorts of excuses or reasons. Some say that they have no time; or they feel that they have enough responsibilities (even though in reality, they are not doing anything for the church); or that they do not have the necessary abilities. But the real reason is the fear of failure and being unwilling to take risks. If we are going to avoid taking risks, are we making ourselves armchair Christians, only knowing how to comment or criticise but afraid and refusing to do our part? Is this what Christianity is really all about to some of us?

Today, we are called to discipleship. It is not enough to just be a Sunday Christian and not get involved. It is not enough just to come to Church or to pray. All of us are called to be disciples, not just a select few. Contrary to what some of us may think, a disciple is not one who doesn't make mistakes, since he does make mistakes from time to time; he or she is not someone who will always succeed in everything that he or she does, since a true disciple experiences failures just like everyone else; he or she is not perfect, but far from perfect, since he or she has many weaknesses and struggles just like everyone else. Instead, a disciple is one who is prepared and able to take risks because he has developed a deep relationship with Jesus. He or she trusts Jesus enough to be able to place his or her own fate in the hands of the Lord. A disciple may be weak or seem not so skilful or qualified, but believes and has confidence that all is possible with the grace and help of God. A disciple constantly turns to God for forgiveness and mercy, and recognises his or her own sinfulness. In other words, a disciple is willing to give his or her all, come what may, because he or she trusts and depends on God for His help and providence. Today, Jesus is calling us and telling us: "Do not be afraid, from now on it is men you will catch." Are we willing to take the risk and follow Him?

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