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How To Respond When God Calls Your Name (#509, 2nd Sunday)

Fr. Joel Homilies

Ordinary Time, 2nd Sunday. We love this cute story and we would all love to hear God call our name. The context of this story is very enlightening and very appropriate for our day. Samuel is a gift to a mother who cannot have children. She thanks God by giving him back to her. Samuel grows up in the temple ministering at the altar and serving the old priest, Eli.

Eli is a good man, but he’s old and has lost his. His sons are no good and they blaspheme God by embezzling from the sacrifices and chasing after women. It seems as though God is ignoring their crimes, but this isn’t true. He has been sending hints and nothing has changed. The Bible introduces today’s readings with these lines:

During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli,
the word of the LORD was scarce and vision infrequent.

Had God stopped speaking, or had they stopped listening? Samuel is sleeping in the temple. He’s picked up the lax habits of his day, but he’s still young and he can change. Two things worth noting: God sounds like the old priest. Second, Samuel gets up three times. What if he had stayed in bed? His willingness to respond and serve a human being makes it possible for him to hear and respond to God himself. God’s message is not pleasant. It is fulfilled when both the sons are killed in battle and Eli falls over dead. Samuel begins a life of a prophet, that is, hearing God’s word and sharing it with God’s people.

What’s the lesson for our day? Today seems to be a time when “the word of the Lord is scarce and vision infrequent.” We might assume that God’s silence means he’s ok with how we are living, but this is not the case. God has not stopped speaking and he is sending hints that He sees and caress. Are we listening?

God continues to call even today. Many young people are discovering the joy of Andrew, John, and Peter — Grandma, Mom, Dad, I have found the Messiah! And we often respond, “that’s nice.” Jesus asks us, “What are you looking for?” The Gospel shows us how a disciple of Jesus should respond:

  1. Remain with the Teacher
  2. Bring others to Him

If we want to become good disciples, we must begin with the same attitude as Samuel: “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

(18 Jan 2015)

Point to Ponder: Read the first few chapters of the book 1 Samuel

Point to Discuss: God often speaks to use without words. Talk to a close friend about how you have heard God speaking to you recently. Ask your friend how they have heard God speaking to them.