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The First Reading recounts the calling of Isaiah, who had a vision of God and said, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips.” Yet, an angel took a burning ember from the altar and touched Isaiah’s mouth, saying, “See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin is purged.” Isaiah said soon afterward, “Here I am, send me!” God has the ability to remove sin and prepare those who are called to go forth and speak in his name.
The Gospel describes the calling of Peter, who encountered Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” And Jesus said to him, “Do not be afraid.” Jesus prepared Peter for the task ahead. Peter would be the leader of the newly formed Church after the Resurrection of Jesus.
St. Paul also had a conversion along the way to Damascus as he encountered the Lord. In our Second Reading, Paul wrote, “Last of all, (Jesus) appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” Still, because of the Lord’s forgiveness, St Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am (an apostle), and his grace to me has not been ineffective . . . So we preach and so you believed.”
Who of us is without sin? Yet, we have all encountered Jesus in the sacraments and in our personal relationship with him. We have experienced the mercy of Jesus, of whom St. Paul said in our Second Reading, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.”
Let us remember, however, that once we have received the forgiveness of Jesus, he sends us to speak of our encounter with him, to proclaim the Gospel with our lives, and to tell of his Son who was crucified for our sins and risen from the dead. In short, after we meet the Lord, we are changed forever. How can we keep this great blessing in our lives a secret? Isaiah couldn’t. Peter couldn’t. Paul couldn’t. Neither can we.
Have a blessed week everyone.