5th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C
AN EMBER TOUCHED MY LIPS
In 742 BC--the year King Uzziah died--a young man has a remarkable dream. Isaiah envisions the inside of the Temple in Jerusalem. God appears to him in a overwhelming display of majesty. Around Him are angels that look like fiery, winged beings. Isaiah is struck with fear over the sight. He recognizes his own unworthiness and the impurity of his speech.
Then one of the angels takes a piece of charcoal from a brazier used for burning incense. The angel touches Isaiah's lips. It symbolically cleanses Isaiah so that he may speak for God. The Lord then commissions Isaiah to serve as a prophet.
Priests and deacons still recall this image before they read the Gospel at Mass. The say, "Lord, wash my lips that I may fittingly proclaim your holy Gospel." Every lector or reader should have the same reverence for God's word.
AS ONE BORN ABNORMALLY
Saint Paul gives some biographical information as he testifies to the validity of his doctrine. He mentions several post-resurrection appearances of Jesus--including some not otherwise mentioned in the Gospels. He ends with a recollection of his own vision of the Risen Lord.
Because Jesus had ascended into heaven some time before, Paul felt that his experience made him like a child born after the normal time. Paul had encountered Jesus while traveling to Damascus, Syria. His mission had been to arrest and execute Christians. Suddenly a bright light and powerful voice literally struck Paul. This experience would heavily influence Paul's teachings, especially that of the spiritual link between Jesus and all of his followers.
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