2ND SUNDAY HOMILY IN ORDINARY TIME – YR B
THEME: HE IS CALLING YOU
BY: Bishop Gerald Musa
1 Sam 3:3b-10, 19; Psalm 40: 2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10 ; 1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20; John 1:35-42;
Very often people ask me, “How did you receive your call to be a Priest?” My response is that the call did not come in one day. When some people think of God’s call, one of the ideas they have in mind is the story of Samuel’s encounter with God at night. And so, when some people ask the question, “How did you receive your call?” they probably expect to hear me talk about a Samuel-like experience or talk about a special night when I heard a thunderbolt call from above and a strange voice tearing through the roof. My experience is such that I see God always working in my life and the lives of others in mysterious ways. He is not confined to any particular style of acting but acts in different ways and at different times in people’s lives. Samuel’s call did not necessarily take place in one dramatic night, but the call began even before he was born. Many of us can look back at our lives and see how the invisible hand of God took us through certain directions to a destination that we were unsure of. Like Samuel, when we listen to his voice he takes us to places where we will find fulfillment in life.
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It is important to observe how God persistently called Samuel, and yet Samuel did not know who was calling him. He was still unschooled in the art of listening to God’s voice. He needed a spiritual director to teach him the art of discerning God’s voice. The prophet Eli played the role of a spiritual director when he instructed Samuel saying, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:9). Just as Eli drew Samuel’s attention to God, so did John the Baptist draw the attention of Simon Peter to Jesus, and likewise Simon Peter drew the attention of his brother Andrew to Jesus. He said to his brother Andrew, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ) (John 1:41). All of them were attentive and receptive to divine call and guidance. They displayed an attitude of humility, obedience and willingness to fulfil their role in God’s plan.
We all need to learn the art of discerning the divine voice that speaks not just in thunder and fire, but one who speaks to us through scriptures, through the ordinary events of every day, through the smile of a baby, in the depth of our hearts, and through our hopes, dreams and aspirations. He expects us to listen to his divine voice and respond accordingly. This is the reason why Jesus says, “My Sheep hear my voice and follow me” (John 10:27). To follow Jesus implies adopting his lifestyle and in doing so faith and commitment are essential requirements. St. Paul says to follow Jesus is to be united with him and become one spirit with him, and that is to say, “You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:17, 19).
A call is a vocation and many of us misunderstand the meaning of vocation. According to Mother Theresa, “Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus.” This is to say that love is the ultimate vocation that we all share. There are times when we equate our vocation to love with gratification of the body and so the Apostle Paul reminds us that the vocation to love is not about body gratification, but about the glorification of our body by way of keeping it sacred. To live a vocation of chastity is not just easy, especially in our modern world where we are bombarded daily by images that provoke our lower instincts. To live a life of chastity is possible only with the grace and help of God. Pope John Paul II says, “Chastity is a difficult, long-term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness.”
The scriptures constantly challenged us to live a life that is worthy of our vocation to love. As we read about the positive response of Samuel, Simon and Andrew to the divine call, we must not forget that we are all called to be disciples. God is calling you to do something good; he is calling you to be something wonderful. We should constantly ask ourselves daily and in every situation of life,
What is he calling me to do?
What is he calling me to say?
What is he calling me to be?
Speak Lord, Your Servant is Listening!
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