Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Summons

When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” - 1 Samuel 3:9b-10

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,“Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” -which translated means Teacher-,“where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” - John 1:35-39a

Samuel was called by the Lord, but initially, Samuel thought that the one calling him was Eli. After a couple of episodes of Samuel waking Eli with the response, "Here I am. You called me?" Eli realizes that the Lord had done the calling, and so he directs Samuel to respond to the Lord, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

God ultimately makes the call for all of us to follow him, however, listening to the call is not enough. We must respond, we must take action to fulfill the purpose God has for us in our lives. Samuel has opened the lines of communication with God, and has taken the first step in answering the call.

In a similar way, St. Andrew heard the call of the Lord to repentance and followed St. John the Baptist. Like Eli does with Samuel, the Baptist directs St. Andrew to the true source of the call, Jesus, the Lamb of God. St. Andrew and his brother Simon answer the call by giving up their former lives and following Christ, an image of Israel leaving its former life in Egypt and following Moses to the Promised Land. This surrendering of their former lives was especially notable for Simon, whose faith was so great that Jesus even changed his name to Kephas or "Rock". Of course, we know him as St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles, whose calling was to confirm his brothers in faith, a calling which St. Peter carried out until his martyrdom in Rome.

God calls to us all everyday. He calls us to repentance. He calls us to holiness. He calls some to the priesthood or religious life; others he calls to the vocation of marriage and family. Our challenge is to discern his call which sometimes may be fairly easy (repentance from sin) and other times more difficult (ordained ministry). Whether it is fairly easy or rather difficult, it will entail surrendering our former lives (the kingdom of this world) for something greater (the Kingdom of God). It will require leaving Egypt in order to reach the Promised Land.


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