- 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
- Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17
- 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
- John 1:43-51
One of the themes of today’s readings is responding to God’s call. We have the story of the prophet Eli, who recognizes that it is the Lord who is calling Samuel; and he tells Samuel to answer, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” In the Gospel, we hear John’s telling of Jesus calling Philip (and others) to be his disciple. Philip goes to Nathaniel and tells him that Jesus of Nazareth is the person who was spoken of my Moses in the Law.
You wish to see, listen. Hearing is a step toward vision. St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
Both stories share how one recognizes the voice of God, but not without needing some assistance, prodding or repetition. During the early Sundays after the Epiphany, we hear the stories of Jesus calling his disciples. As Christians, we are called into discipleship by our baptism. Just as Christ called the first disciples on the lakeshore in the counting house, he calls us wherever we are.
Listen, my child, . . . with the ear of your heart. Hearken to my words if you would have life! St. Benedict, sixth century
Samuel was confused by the Voice and sought out Eli. Nathaniel questions Philip’s urging to, “Come and see.” Each of these individuals reached out to another – or was brought by another – to understand what this mysterious “call” was.
As my prayer became more attentive and inward I had less and less to say. I finally became completely silent. I started to listen – which is even further removed from speaking. I first thought that praying entailed speaking. I then learnt that praying is hearing., not merely being silent. This is how it is. To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking. Prayer involves becoming silent, and being silent, and waiting until God is heard. Sören Kierkegaard
- How do we recognize the voice of God? How do we answer?
- Who are some of the people who have helped you to grown in your life in Christ?
- How would you share the “good news” of Christ with someone who had never heard the Gospel? What are some of the barriers that make it difficult to share our Christian faith, and how can they be overcome?
- Paul’s letter to the Corinthians outlines the responsibilities of living out such a call. How does Paul call us to honor our God with our entire being?
In the depth of silence no words are needed, no language required. In the depth of silence I am called to listen.
Listen to the beating of your heart. Listen to the blowing of the wind, the movement of the Spirit. Be silent, said the Lord, and know that I am God.
And listen to the cry of the voiceless. Listen to the groaning of the hungry. Listen to the pain of the landless. Listen to the sigh of the oppressed and to the laughter of children.
For that is authentic communication; listening to people, living with people, dying for people.
An Indonesian author, 1983
Image: “The Infant Samuel” by Joshua Reynolds, 1776