We are all called to build up the body of Jesus which is the Church. Whether we are sick, whether we are carers, whether our health is strong or frail, each in our own way builds up the body of Christ and we should encounter in the Church and bring to the life of the Church the care of Christ.
Jesus will always respond to us with generosity. He does not just surprise us but he stuns us with his generosity. There is never anything miserly or measured or calculating in the way God’s love embraces us. At the Wedding Feast in Cana, Jesus’ gesture produces wine in gallons; after the feeding of the crowd, dozens of baskets remain; today the catch is so great that Simon has to call two more boats. God’s love is superabundant; it goes way beyond any human calculation. God responds in terms which go way beyond anything we merit or could have imagined on our own plans. Jesus helps us to achieve more than we on our own strength could hope to achieve.
How does Simon respond: the greatness of God’s generosity and love makes him realise his own inadequacy. He cries out: “Depart from me for I am a sinful man”. Any encounter with the generosity of God reveals just how distant we are in our lives from him. It is from this honest recognition of our sinfulness that we can begin a true path of conversion. Jesus’ call us to conversion not through punitive or threatening gestures, but through allowing us to experience the lavishness of his love.
The love of Jesus changes the way we interact with others. Solidarity is not just helping; it is entering into and establishing a different kind of relationship with others and changing relations in the world. The message of Jesus is never a message of domination, but one which frees all of us to be the people God wishes us to be. It is a message which changes the way we interact with others. Faith is above all about trust in God who frees us so that we can transcend our own abilities and realise even greater things in our lives.
There is a final note about faith in today’s Gospel. Once called, the disciples instantly leave everything to follow Jesus. Faith is not something we can negotiate in order to work out our own terms of engagement. It is placing our absolute trust in God and abandoning our own certainties so that we can be free.
There are times when it is difficult to understand our sickness and our weakness. The Church is the place where the kindness of Jesus towards the sick is especially realised. It is Jesus himself who does this through his comforting presence in the Sacrament of the Sick which we will celebrate in a few moments.
The Church is also the place where the care of Jesus is represented by the members of a caring community. Many today are disillusioned by the Church. They have lost their contact and trust in the Church. How do we reach out to such people and especially to young people? One special place in which we can witness to the true Church is through our care for the sick. Jesus preached the Good News, but he always accompanied that proclaiming of the word, with the witness of caring for the sick and freeing those who bore burdens in their hearts. A Church which just proclaims an abstract message without accompanying it with witness to the loving kindness of God would not be fully the Church of Jesus Christ.
As a community let us renew our commitment to witnessing in our lives to what the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ means today and in the tomorrow of our communities. May Jesus, the Good Shepherd, with us in our lives and today especially in the lives of those who are sick and those who care for them.