THEME: LESSONS FROM THE CALL OF SAMUEL
READINGS: 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19/ 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20/ John 1:35-42
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s first reading is about the call of Samuel (1 Sam. 3:3-10,19). This story offers us some lessons about how God speaks to us today and how to respond to Him.
Firstly, Samuel was called when he was lying down. We learn from this instance that God may speak to us while we are lying down or asleep. He may, however, speak to us while we are awake. In short, God may speak to us at any time or during any activity.
Secondly, Samuel was called while he was in the temple. Similarly, God speaks to us when we are in the church. He may however speak to us at other places, e.g., at home, workplace, school, marketplace etc. In short, as much as He speaks to us at any time, so He may speak to us at any place.
Thirdly, God called Samuel by his name. That is, He spoke personally to Samuel. Similarly, God speaks to us individually as our needs and concerns vary.
Fourthly, God called Samuel several times. Similarly, He speaks to us not only once but numerous times. And when we don’t seem to hear Him , He repeats His message.
Fifthly, Samuel initially thought that it was Eli the priest who was calling him. Similarly, we sometimes mistake God’s message to be a human message. Unfortunately, when we persist in this manner, we miss the message of God. For instance, God may be speaking to us through a sermon; but because we are used to a priest or for another reason, we may not be attentive to the message. Another example is that God may be speaking to a teenager through his/her parent; but because of familiarity or another reason, he/she may ignore the message of God.
Sixthly, fortunately, Samuel was guided by Eli to realize that it was God who was calling and he eventually responded well. In the same way, we sometimes need the guidance and counseling of some spiritual leaders or mature Christians to discern and know what God is saying to us. For instance, I didn’t know that God was calling me to His priestly vineyard until the mother of a friend prompted me in 1984. Subsequently, I sought the spiritual counseling of some priests and when the call was clear to me I entered the seminary in 1986.
The seventh point concerns Samuel’s response to God’s call.
He said: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening “ (1 Sam. 3:10). This is an attitude of humility and willing obedience. In other words, Samuel saw God as his Lord , that is his Master,and he himself as his servant who was willing to do whatever the Master was ordering him to do. Similarly, we should approach God as His humble servants who are willing to obey Him.
Finally, because Samuel humbly and willingly obeyed God, he was blessed with God’s presence and whatever he delivered as God’s message to Israel was fulfilled (1 Sam. 3:19). When we are likewise attentive and obedient to God’s message, He will bless us . Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis