St Michael and All Angels

Observatory, Cape Town

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Trinity V : Fr Tony Hogg

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 The Community of St Mary The Virgin in Wantage was founded by William
 Butler in the 19th Century as part of the Oxford Movement. It was a teaching 
order and the girls’ School of St. Mary was set up in the town. The Sisters also 
set up houses in South Africa and India. I often said mass for them and one of 
the Sisters became my Parish Sister. On the back of the hall there was a 
large mural which stated; “Launch into the deep.” In a way it became the 
unofficial motto for the girls, as a reminder for them never to shirk from 
going out into the world and making their mark for good, based on the faith 
which had been taught them during their time at school.
The heart of the Gospel reading for today takes that further and also reminds 
us how the wisdom of God differs from the wisdom of men!
If a business man of today (or even of the year 28. A.D.) was choosing a 
chairman and assistants for the world-wide enterprise he was about to set up,
 is it likely that he would choose them from among the unknown, unlettered 
fishermen of Galilee? Yet Christ, who was about to set up not only a world-
wide institute but an everlasting one, chose these simple fisherman and made 
them his assistants in the work that he had taken in hand.
And it wasn’t that he was restricted in his choice. There were many educated 
priests and scribes in Jerusalem whom he could have won over, men who 
could preach and instruct so much more eloquently than Peter or Andrew. 
There were Roman officers in Palestine who were highly educated, and who 
would be much more eagerly listened to in the Gentile world. There were 
Greek philosophers whose very name would add prestige to the Gospel 
message had they been Apostles. Yet is was to none of these that Christ 
entrusted the arduous task of spreading the good news of the Gospel, it was to 
none of these that he gave the keys of his kingdom.
Christ was not influenced in his judgment by external, accidental 
qualifications. He judged the heart and the will. He knew the true worth of 
men. Furthermore, the society he was about to set up was not a worldly 
business concern but a free transport system to heaven, which called for faith 
and the ability to ‘launch into the deep’ in the name of the Saviour. The truths 
he was committing to its keeping were not based on earthly wisdom which 
would require eloquence and prestige to bolster them up. They were, and still 
are for us, of course, the eternal, divine truths which need no human 
propaganda, no help from mere men.
Thus, in the selection of his Apostles, Christ has given us an extra proof, if one 
were needed, of his own divine wisdom and of the divine origin of the 
Christian religion which we profess. Our religion is not man made, God is its
 author.
While thanking God for our Christian religion, with its clearly drawn map of 
salvation, let us show our appreciation by doing our part, as humble apostles, 
weak but willing helpers of Christ. This we can do without eloquence, or 
personal prestige. We do so by striving as true Christians in our homes, in our 
places of work, and in our recreations, by carrying our cross daily and 
patiently, ever ready to give a hand when the neighbour’s cross seems too 
heavy for him to bear. We do that remembering that Peter did as he was told. 
Note that the catch did not come first, and the obedience afterwards. Peter 
obeyed because he sensed that in meeting Christ he was somehow meeting 
God. It could be a question for us to consider in the week ahead. Do we ever 
know exactly why we obey? But just as Peter’s obedience put him on the 
Christian road, so too in the greatest fulfillment of our obedience to Jesus, 
‘do this in remembrance of me’ to enable to once more launch ourselves into 
the deep, we too know that we need not fear because we have that faith, a faith which may lead us to ‘launch into the deep’ so that ‘at thy word’ will bear fruit, for us, and for all whom we love, and who indeed love us.
 
Amen
 
 

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