5th Sunday, Ordinary
What happens when a man or woman encounters God?  The question may even be more appropriately stated: “What happens when God encounters a human being?,” since it is always God who makes the first move.
The first thing is terror. There emerges the feeling of terror on the part of the person.  In the first reading, Isaiah 6, the prophet describes how he saw the glory of the Lord.  He saw God’s throne and God’s assisting angels, the seraphim.  He heard their songs of adoration.  And he was terrified, afraid or more precisely, unworthy, to be in this awesome presence.
“Woe is me!”  – was all the prophet could say.  Maybe he thought at that time that he was about to die, since he was reminded of his many sins.
In the gospel, Luke 5, a similar thing happened.  Peter witnessed the power of Jesus’ miracle.  There were no fish and then suddenly there was an enormous catch of fish the nets were breaking.  Peter realized he was before an extraordinary person, a being far greater than he ever imagined.  He was before Jesus, who was God’s power on earth.
All he could say was: “Depart from me, Lord. I am a sinful man!” Like Isaiah, maybe he too, thought that moment was the end of his life, for he too realized how far he was from being perfect. He too was a sinner.
But then the Lord initiates another thing, a response greater than what Isaiah or peter expected.  He does not appear to them to terrify them, does not perform wonders merely to astound them.  The Lord appears to express his trust.  The human reaction is terror.  God’s reply is trust.
The encounter reinforces the Lord’s desire to choose the people he will invite to a special relationship of trust.  The Lord wants them now on his side, in his service.  He invites them to be prophets, apostles. To Isaiah, the message was “I am sending you.”  And what a great prophet he became.  To Peter, the message was “You will become a fisher of man.” And Peter became the great apostle of the Lord.
This encounter happens to us too, many times, in many forms.  But in a special way, we are conscious of this each time we enter into prayer, especially the Eucharist.  At the start of the Mass, knowing that God is here, aren’t we moved to say, with remorse, a bit of terror: “I confess…that I have greatly sinned.” 
But then, as we proceed, the Lord shows his trust by offering us his word, his Body, his blessings.  Then we know we are called to be prophets too.  We are sent to be apostles as well.
Isn’t this great to realize this Sunday and everyday?  We have a great God and his greatness makes us tremble but his trust supports us and makes us live with power and great hope.