My Dear Sisters and Brothers! In the Gospel for this Sunday we meet a disappointed man – Peter. Let us listen again to how he revealed his disappointment: ‘We have worked hard all night long and caught nothing.’ Peter wasn’t able to give his suffering, his disappointment to Jesus right away either. As a mature man, who was supposed to support his family, he must have felt bad, kind of a failure.
The prophet Isaiah had this awesome vision when he ‘saw the Lord of Hosts seated on high throne and above whom stood seraphs crying ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts. His glory fills the whole earth.’’ At the same time he looked into his own conscience and what he saw was all but holy, in fact he declared with disappointment: ‘What a wretched state I am in. I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips.’ He was disappointed with himself of not being worthy to be in the presence of All Holy God. He was disappointed that he didn’t live up to the standards to which God was calling his people.
Different kinds of disappointments we have seen in these three people. Could you add your own disappointment to the story? Do think about that. Identify and name your disappointment. Why? Because your disappointment can become your appointment with God. Chiara met Jesus in her study disappointment. Peter met Jesus in his work disappointment. Isaiah met All Holy God in his personality disappointment. If you, my fellow believers, are disappointed with something in your life open wide your eyes and look around. The Lord Jesus is there. He is not going to join you at feeling sorry for yourself though. Instead at this unique appointment in your disappointment he says to you: ‘You did not choose me, no, I chose you and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last.’
This is our discovery that God is at work, that God transforms the world through our need for him. He is not waiting for us showing off to him our awards and achievements but he wants to award us with his compassion. He wants us to display before people that we live and move in him. He wants us to fascinate others with our content with living the life as his followers and even more… as his children.
I am fascinated with the life of Isaiah and Peter. I am also fascinated with the life of that girl I mentioned at the beginning, Chiara Badano. Looking at them you can see the radiance of God shining in our world which seems to be a dark place so often. Chiara was born in 1971. She is our contemporary. She died at the age of 19 of a rare bone cancer in 1990. When two years earlier she was told the grim prognosis she was disappointed and she struggled to accept it. She asked her mother: ‘Mum, is it fair to die at 17 years of age?’ However eventually she said: ‘If this is what you want, Jesus, so do I.’ When exhausted with illness she revealed: ‘I have nothing left, but still have my heart, and with that I can always love.’ Our Catholic Church has recognized how precious disappointment it was as it was indeed an appointment with God. Chiara was beatified, she was declared Blessed in 2010, only 20 years after her premature death. Was it a premature death? By 19 she reached the maturity of Jesus’ follower, of a child of God who lived with content her dependence on God, her need for God.
Blessed Chiara, pray for us.