5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father Stéphane Pouliot
February 7th, 2016
What happens when we let Jesus get into the boat of our lives and we let him modify our plans for the day ? Let us find out.
The day was a busy one for Jesus. The crowd was pressing in on him, eager to hear God speaking to them in human flesh.
Fishermen were nearby, washing their nets, and unaware of what would soon happen.
Are we those fishermen, with Ash Wednesday on the horizon of our upcoming week, busy with our lives and unaware of what God intends to do for us this Lent?
This is how the Mercy of God works. It waits patiently for an opening, and at the most opportune moment, it seeks to pierce our resistance with a sudden invasion of our privacy. This invasion of Grace is not aggressive, but it is intentional. Jesus did not fill out forms in triple duplicates before getting into Simon’s boat. He did not give Simon heads up, nor did Jesus beg Simon to consider the offer carefully.
God knows that we are, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, men and women of “unclean lips”, living “among a people of unclean lips” (cf. Isaiah 6:5). In the words of the psalmist, God stretches out his hand and with His right hand delivers us (cf. Psalm 138:7). By the grace of God, we become what we are, and may it always be that His Grace towards us not be in vain (cf.1 Corinthians 15:10) due to our lack of cooperation with it.
This is the key point of today’s Gospel. Jesus did invite himself into Simon’s boat, but Simon let him in, did not object, did not request Him to leave, but rather gave Grace the chance to change His life.
This Lent, we start on Wednesday with a day of fasting and abstinence from meat, and we may not look forward to this. However, fasting and receiving the ashes on that day is showing up at the shore of the lake where Jesus is about to preach, washing our nets, waiting for an invasion of Grace.
When Jesus gave Simon Peter a new fishing plan, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:5), it must at first have appeared absurd. Jesus does not look like an accomplished fisherman, he who learned from Joseph how to be a carpenter.
Simon is exhausted from having worked all night long. So can we, after years of trying to overcome an addiction, a self-destructive habit, or after months of not daring to put out into the deep waters of a life with God, content to stay in the shallow waters of a mediocre, “It will have to do”, prayer life.
“Yet, if you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5) Simon Peter replies. Those five words “Yet, if you say so”, can become our Lenten motto, our constant reminder not to settle for anything less than the great adventure of having God invite himself into the boat of our lives, and lead us to the deep waters where an abundant miraculous catch of fish awaits us.
This miraculous catch of fish shows us the profound blessings which will become known to us once we trust God and do what He told us to do.
Prayer, fasting, almsgiving, three simple Lenten nets made ready for a miraculous catch once we follow Jesus into the deep waters of a life where He becomes the centre.
Prayer involves a sacrifice of time, fasting a sacrifice of food and drink, almsgiving a sacrifice of money.
Jesus calls us to invest our time, our appetite and our money into His Kingdom. The returns will be out of this world.
There is more. As soon as Simon agrees to put out his boat into the deep water and let down his nets, “they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink” (Luke 5:6-7).
We are not alone this Lent. We are all partners into this adventure into the deep waters of God’s very intimate life. We will need each other this Lent, and when one of our sisters weakens in her resolve, she will know that she can receive from us the encouragement to begin again her broken Lenten resolutions. We will need each other this Lent, and when one of our brothers has the sinking feeling that this is all too much transformation for his sinful self, as Simon Peter said to Jesus (cf. Luke 5:8), we won’t leave him alone.
We will tell him and her: “You belong in the boat, in the deep waters, with Jesus.” “Yet if you say so” Jesus… “Yet if you say so”, nothing is impossible with You, even my own transformation from sinner to saint.


I am deeply indebted to Bishop Barron for his homily on the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C, this year (2016) : http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/ .

The Chief medical Health Officer of Kingston has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
Please read and observe the six key principles outlined below.

1) The key principle is that we come to Mass to worship God. Out of justice and exercising the virtue of religion we must give God what is God’s due. That quite simply is worship, adoration and praise. Thus, the absolute essentials of Mass will be included so that the Sacramental praise of God will take place and we will be exposed to one another for as brief a time as possible.

2) The second key principle is that the health and safety of parishioners, staff and clergy here at St. Mary’s are essential and require our utmost concern and attention. Therefore, the dispensation from the obligation to come to Sunday Mass by Archbishop Mulhall continues to be in effect. Those who are sick, elderly or have other critical health concerns should not come at this time. However, that is left to your discretion. Should you make the choice to come, knowing the risks, you are most welcome.

3) The underlying principle of all of our restrictions in isolating, physically distancing, wearing masks etc. is the common good as we live out the Lord’s commission to “love one another.” We are to care for each other and at this time we are called to be as prudent and careful as we can to protect the health of everyone else and ourselves.
4) The principle for the next few weeks will be brevity. The received scientific wisdom is that the virus spreads within groups who spend a prolonged period of time together. Therefore, we will be reducing the Mass to the bare essentials.
5) Singing is considered more dangerous than speaking so you are asked to please not sing at all throughout the Mass. I will not be singing either.
6) If you have any sickness, are elderly or have a critical illness you should remain at home. The dispensation from the obligation to come to Mass continues through this time of 30% capacity. Of course, if you choose to come you will not be turned away. We will continue to live- stream the Masses until we are back to a more normal arrangement.

The Chief medical Health Officer has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
We will pray a shorter Penitential Rite.
The Gloria will be said not sung. There is to be no singing by the congregation during the Mass. Only by a cantor or as we have today a physically distanced choir in the choir loft…3 metres apart.
We will only have one reading followed by the Psalm
The second reading will be omitted.
The choir will sing the Alleluia on Sundays. During the week it will be omitted. Please do not join in.
The Gospel.
A very brief (3-4 minute) homily will follow.
The Creed will not be prayed.
There will be no petitions. Please prepare your own petitions and offer them in your heart during the Mass.
There will be no procession of the gifts.
There will be no regular collections at this time in the Masses. It will happen later. Ushers will be at the doors to receive your offering as you leave.
The Eucharistic Prayer will be prayed. This is the Most Important Part of the Mass.
The Our Father
Sign of Peace. This is a time when we won’t shake hands. Please do not wave to each other or give the two finger sign of peace. Neither of these reflect what is the intention here…You are recognizing the presence of God in the other person and praying they know God’s peace. The most appropriate gesture is a slight bow or nod of the head to the other person. You have seen me do this at the sign of peace to all of you at every Sunday Liturgy.
Please be seated.
Then the ushers will direct you to the place where you will receive Holy Communion. Please do not leave your pew until an usher has indicated you should do so.
Another usher will be close to the Communion Station to receive your Sunday Offering.
When it is your turn to receive Holy Communion. You will stand 6 feet away on the red line. The person distributing Holy Communion will say “The Body of Christ”. You will say “Amen”. Then move forward within arms length and receive the Host. Once you have received go straight out the nearest exit and make your Thanksgiving on your way home.
Aisles 1 & 5 will come forward to receive Holy Communion and leave by the side doors.
Aisles 2, 3 & 4 will go to the back to receive Holy Communion.
Aisle 2 will exit by the exit closest to the rectory.
Aisle 3 will exit out the centre door which you came in
Aisle 4 will exit out the door by the washrooms.
You are strongly encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Receiving on the tongue endangers the person giving Holy Communion and yourself, the person receiving Holy Communion. If you wish to insist on receiving on the tongue please wait until the very end as the person giving Holy Communion should sanitize their hands after each communicant. The usher will pass you by and will come back to you after everyone else has received. Please don’t leave your pew until that has taken place.