HOMILY THEME: Answering the Call of God

BY: Fr. Luke Ijezie


HOMILY: 1Sam 3:3-10.19; Psalm 40:2.4.7-10; 1 Cor 6:13-15.17-20; John 1:35-42.

1. One reality of our religious life is that God calls us at one point or the other. The question, however, is whether we pause to listen or whether we ever recognize the identity of the Caller. The moment we begin to recognize the divine Caller at that very moment our life begins to change. The readings of this Sunday invite us to dispose ourselves to answer the call.

2. The Gospel text presents the call of the first three disciples of Jesus. The first two were originally the disciples of John the Baptist but they immediately switch over to Jesus as soon as John identifies Jesus as the Promised Messiah: the Lamb of God. One recalls the imageries of the lamb in the OT: the Passover lamb (Exod 12:4,5,21; Ezra 6:20; cf. 1 Core 5:7), the lamb for sin offering (Lev 3:7; 4:32,35; 5:6,7; 12:8; 14:10.21-25; cf. 1 Pet 1:19; Rev 5) and the servant lamb in the text of Isaiah (Isa 53:7; cf. Acts 8:32). The important thing is that the imagery of the Lamb strikes the right cord in the religious consciousness of these two disciples, and immediately they begin to follow Jesus. But it is not enough to hear of Jesus from others. One has to make a personal encounter with him. This is what happens as Jesus formally invites them to come and see. They see and they stay with Him. Very interesting story! But it doesn’t end there. After the encounter, they become witnesses. Andrew, one of the two goes to invite his brother, Simon, who comes and encounters Jesus and receives his own call. One interesting feature here is that every call is unique. The call of Simon Peter has its peculiar features as distinguished from the call of his brother Andrew and the other disciple.

Another interesting feature is that the call comes within the context of encounter with the divine Caller.

3. In the first reading from 1 Samuel 3, we find another classic story of divine call: the call of Samuel. The young boy comes to recognize the Caller only through the agency of his human master. In life we need guides and mentors who help us to make the proper uplifting encounters. Samuel receives his call as soon as he recognizes the voice of the caller as a divine voice. But to get the message he must listen. Listening is an act of self surrender to the other. Answering a call demands a disposition of listening which also leads to total obedience.

4. The psalmist of Psalm 40 sums it when he says: “Here am I, Lord: I come to do your will.” The psalmist makes it clear: “You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings, but an open ear. You do not ask for holocaust and victim. Instead, here am I.” This means total adherence to the will of the God who Calls.

This is expressed in the total surrender of our bodies, our very existence to the will of Christ.

As long as we live, God is ever calling us to deeper encounter with Him. Every one of these calls has within it a mission to influence the lives of others for better. It is good to always ask oneself: What does God want of me in the present situation? Am I really listening to Him? Or, am I rather distracted by other voices and by my own ambitions and desires? Have I the courage to carry out the mission God asks me to do for Him in this situation? Yes, God is ever speaking to us. That makes life very interesting.

Even in very difficult moments and in very tragic situations, God never ceases to speak to us. That is why wise people regard every life experience as a call through which they enter into deeper, transforming encounters.

May God guide us to make the best of every life situation and opportunity! Fr. Luke Ijezie


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