Are you listening for the call of God in your life today? If God is trying to communicate with you personally, are you making yourself available to receive His word? If you don’t quite know how to do that, are you, like Samuel, seeking a mentor to help you know the way? This seems to be the focus of the Scriptures for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time.
In the Gospel, we hear John’s account of the calling of the first apostles. We see the brother who brings his brother to Jesus. We see someone who is called by Jesus and actually believes what He’s doing and follows Him. We see the beginnings of the disciples’ ability to give testimony for Jesus. Simon’s brother speaks to him and labels Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ. Those are strong words to use but they certainly got Simon’s attention.
In the reading from the First Book of Samuel, Samuel is sleeping in the temple near where the Ark of God was. Eli must have taught Samuel that he needed to get near the real presence of God. The Ark of the Covenant represented that for Samuel and Eli. Mentoring Samuel takes place one step at a time. Eli doesn’t overwhelm him by telling him too much at once, but he places him in a situation where his faith in God could deepen. After being awakened several times during the night, Eli instructs Samuel to go back to sleep and if he is awakened again, to speak directly to God. I’m wondering how many of us have a mentor in our lives, a good solid spiritual woman or man who can lead us in the next steps of spiritual development and our relationship with God. I wonder how many of us have spiritual wisdom that we can offer to others but we think so little of ourselves that we believe we have nothing to offer. Many of us have sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, students and others who are listening and watching to see what is most important to us and how that is enfleshed in our lives. May we pray for the prudence and the courage we need to know when to speak and when to be silent.
To add the sweetest touch to everything else that the Scriptures contain this weekend, the Church includes a reading from the sixth chapter of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. It reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. With that assurance and that testimony of faith, Paul reminds us that God is never far from us. Paul also reminds us that if our bodies are temples, then our bodies deserve to be treated in a holy way. At the beginning of this new calendar year, I think some of us have made New Year’s resolutions. Wouldn’t it be great if part of our resolve this year was to treat ourselves and others that we interact with reverence and respect?
As the Scripture says, we have been purchased at such a price. That price is the ultimate act of love given to each of us. May we always appreciate such a gift!
Father Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.