“What a wretched state I am in! I am lost…..my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of Hosts.”

These words are uttered by the prophet Isaiah in response to the glorious vision of heaven he received. He saw the angelic host sing what we call the Sanctus and they sang with such powerful voices that the sanctuary shook and the smoke of incense was everywhere. In the midst of this vision was the majesty of the Lord of Hosts that filled the sanctuary.

Isaiah had encountered the holiness of God and became only too aware of his own unworthiness and the sin of his people. He was not however consumed by the holiness of God as he feared but was cleansed of his sins by a coal taken from the altar so that he might continue to stand in God’s presence.

Simon, who will become Peter the rock, also encounters the holy presence of God in the person of Jesus. His response is similar to Isaiah, falling on his knees saying, “leave me, Lord: I am a sinful man.” Yet again though God doesn’t banish but heals, purifies and calls. Who will I send? And I will make you fishers of men.

The word they are to proclaim? St Paul tells us “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Ce’phas, then to the Twelve.”

Blessings Fr Neil