The Voice Of God

Eli and Samuel

2nd Sunday In Ordinary Time

Deacon Robin Mendonca

Posted: January 17, 2021

Imagine being in young Samuel’s shoes. What would you do if, during the night, you heard a voice in the middle of the night calling you by name? I think most of us would say it’s time to move and find another place to live. Thankfully, for Samuel, his teacher Eli was nearby and even though Samuel didn’t recognize the voice of God, Eli did.

And in today’s gospel, through John the Baptist, the Lord speaks to the first disciples and calls them to a different way of life. This is what we call a vocation. It’s God’s call for us and it’s not just a single moment but a process in which we gradually grow in recognizing God’s plan for us.

But let’s go back to Samuel’s story. This story might give us the impression that God’s call is external and audible, but it doesn’t tend to happen that way. God usually talks to us through our heart’s deepest desires, and these desires might even be guided by the witness of others.

Samuel heard God calling him three times; but he did not recognize the voice until Eli guided him like a wise spiritual sage. Similarly, the two disciples did not recognize Jesus until John showed them that he is the Lamb of God, the Messiah.

So sometimes, we too, need the witness of others, such as our parents, priest, a spiritual person, our friends, and even each other. Like all of you. We all need each other as we discover God’s plan for our lives. That’s why it’s so important that we have groups like this.

However, recognizing God’s plan for us is not enough because what’s the point of knowing a plan and then doing nothing about it. We need to take the next step to take some action and that means forming a personal friendship with God.  See it’s very easy to get to know about someone. We just need to hop online and check out their Instagram, or their FaceBook or their linked in or we can talk to others about their impressions etc. But all we get is to know about the person. We don’t get to know THEM.

And so when the two disciples asked Jesus where he was staying, Jesus did not simply give them his address or contact information; rather, he invited them to come and see and remain with him. To remain with Jesus means to be in a relationship with him. We do not know what happened during that time they spent with Jesus, but what we know for sure is that they were changed. A true friendship was born, and thus, a deep joy flourished.

In the same way, the Lord invites us to experience him, spend time with him and to be with him. During this time of pandemic and shut downs, its’ the perfect opportunity to spend time with God. The best way is to just read the scriptures ( talk about bible in a year podcast). come not just to learn facts from him or some information we could ignore or forget later; Jesus always calls us to an encounter that changes us forever. Let us come to spend time and be present with him through personal prayers and listening to the Word.

God keeps calling us through the inner voice in our heart, through external circumstances or even through human messengers. Let us be attentive to and discern his voice in our daily life. Do not be afraid to deeply engage in a personal friendship with him in which we will find him and find ourselves, in which we will be renewed in his love and joy, and in which God makes us great.

Once we experience the authentic love of Christ, we can share it with others – this love can help rebuild broken lives. This is our journey, and this is our mission.

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Speak Lord, your servant is listening – Fr. Mark


Second Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year B

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: Jan 14, 2018

A few years ago there was a movie called Gravity. Sandra Bullock is an astronaut on the Space Station involved in an accident. She ends up alone on a small craft with no contact with anyone back on the earth. At one moment as she expects to die alone there in space she says, it is sad that there is no one back on earth to pray for her, as she was a single mother whose only child had died a few years before. Then she says, that she would pray, but she did not know how to pray as no one ever taught her to pray.

How fortunate we are that someone taught us to pray. Who taught you to pray?
Parent, Grandparents, a teacher, a priest.

In the story of Samuel, he is a young boy, who it says did not yet know the Lord. He is hearing his name being called, so he goes to Eli, the older, experienced man of God to see if he had called him. After a while Eli understands what is happening, so he tells Samuel to go back and if he hears his name being called he is to say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” Eli was teaching Samuel to pray.

Those simple words make a great prayer. “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” Begin each day in that spirit, go through your day listening to the Lord in all you see, all you experience, all you hear, everyone you meet. What is God saying to you through it all?

Sometimes we think of prayer as something to make us feel good, bring us peace, comfort. But there is also the great risk of prayer. Good prayer is risky, because it means we are listening. God might ask something of us. Our Responsorial Psalm today, “Here I am o Lord, I come to do your will.” That is very risky. God will actually ask something of us.

In the Gospel we see some future Apostles of Jesus come to meet him. Jesus calls to them, Come and See. The go and spend time with Jesus. They watch him, listen to him, see what he does.

This is prayer, to spend time with Jesus. Sit and read from the Gospels, spending time with Jesus, watching how he acts, how he teaches. We can also just sit quietly, spending time with Jesus without saying a word.

Prayer is a great gift. Be thankful to that person or persons who taught you to pray. Keep learning to pray. Remember, that prayer is a risk. God might ask something of you.

All prayer should be rooted in the spirit of the prayer that Eli teaches Samuel
“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”


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