This reflection is for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B, 1/14/2018.
Today’s readings cause us to recognize not only that God has been calling faithful people to himself from the beginning, and that God continues that call today, but most importantly that we often need some help to hear The Call, and that we should seek help to hear and discern God’s call.
In the Old Testament God calls to Samuel, but Samuel, who has never heard God’s voice, mistakenly thinks he is being called by his master and teacher, Eli. Our persistent God continues to call Samuel. Over and over again, Samuel wrongly understands God’s call. We are much like Samuel, I’m afraid.
I think sometimes in our life we believe that our happiness lies “over there” or “over there” or “just around the corner.” We pursue wealth, fame, fortune, or other worldly pleasures. We think our happiness will lie in that person, or that job, or this opportunity, or that food, drink, or drug. Yet even in the midst of pursuing false hope and temporary happiness, God calls us to true lasting joy, but we so often miss it. We need an Eli!
My Eli has been a good priest friend of mine who courageously calls me to see what’s true and to hear God’s call. He offers seemingly endless resources and prayer and inexhaustible encouragement. Even as I write this I know that God has called me to His service in a particular way, but it took my Eli to hear it.
Who’s your Eli? Who boldly, and courageously points you in the direction of the Lord? In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist, served as his disciples’ Eli. He points out, “Behold, the Lamb of God,” that they might recognize Jesus and follow Him. He helps them to see that in Jesus there is more than meets the eye. Do not be fooled by His humble appearance, he tells them, but rather he helps them to see beyond the ordinary to discover the extraordinary presence of God in their midst. Naturally, they leave John to follow the Christ.
The priest after the Consecration at Mass, lifts up the Body and blood of Christ, and calls also us to see more that what meets the eye. He calls us to behold the Real Presence of God in our midst under the appearance of ordinary bread and wine, and uses the words of John the Baptist to do it! The appropriate response at Mass is to give the great Amen! We say it three times to make quite clear that we believe! We believe! We believe!
God is calling us to see and hear Him in the ordinary trials and triumphs of our everyday lives. God is calling us to see him in the Eucharist, in the poor and marginalized, in the immigrant, in our coworkers, in our friends, students, employees, spouse, and children. He is calling us to hear his voice in all of the good times and in the sad times throughout our day. How important that we have an Eli, a John the Baptist.
I want to encourage you this week to return to Church, go on a retreat, go to Mass, speak to a priest, a pastor, or a spiritual director. Pick up a good book about God, about the call to Christian discipleship, spend time alone with God, and say but one thing, say the ONLY thing that needs to be said, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”