Last week I asked you to consider the question of who you are, and suggested to you that because of your baptism the answer must refer to who Christ is. Answering these two questions is in some way the work of our entire lives, but let’s build on this a little more. In fact, it feels like the scripture readings invite us to do that today, because they leave out a good amount of details so that we can focus on the larger picture of who God is and what that makes us.
The first reading was that great narrative of the Lord calling to Samuel repeatedly in the middle of the night. Three times the Lord calls to him and three times he wakes from his sleep and goes to Eli and three times Eli tells him to go back to bed. Finally, that last time Eli recognizes this must be the Lord and instructs Samuel to tell the Lord that his servant is listening if he is called again. So after Samuel goes back to bed, for a forth time the Lord calls out to Samuel and Samuel says, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And after all build up to what the Lord wants to say and all the effort to have Samuel listen the Lord says… we don’t know, the readings left that part out. The lectionary reading skips nine versus at that point, you’d have to pull out your bible to hear what He says. But what the reading does give us is how Samuel was affected. The next thing we were told today was, “Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him.” Whatever the Lord had to say to Samuel that night kept his whole life for years to come on the right path of remaining close to the Lord.
Some details were missing in what the Gospel said too. John points out Jesus as the Lamb of God and two of the disciples go off to follow him. They address him as rabbi, as teacher, and want to know where he is staying. Those first two disciples to follow after Jesus stayed with him the entire day. Imagine having an entire day to be with Jesus in private and all the things you could ask and the things that he could tell you. Jesus spends the day with these two disciples and tells them… we don’t know. And this time there are no skipped versus, the Gospel simply doesn’t record what those two disciples heard or saw or asked that whole day. What it does say is how they were affected. Andrew was one of those two and he tell his brother Simon, “We have found the Messiah”. Whatever Jesus said that day, Andrew went from seeing Jesus as a teacher to seeing him as the Messiah in a single day.
For all that the scriptures did not tell us, what did they tell us about who God is and about who Christ is? It’s that when the Lord speaks, lives are changed. When you give God the opportunity to enter your life, when you tell Him to speak because you are listening, when you ask him where He is staying so that you can be there too… when you listen to the Gospels in the year to come… you life will be changed. And that answers a little bit more about who you are. The second reading told us that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit and that we are not our own. You are who the Lord says you are, and it just so happens that He says that you are His… just like he told Simon that he is Peter, the rock.
Another way to express all of this is to say that faith is a response to what God has done. Meditate on salvation history and what God has done in the story of humanity and most of all what he has done in His Son. Meditate on what God has done in your own life. Listen to Him; respond to Him. Respond to Him in the words of prayer that discuss in conversation what you have received, and respond to him in the small actions of every day that show your desire to imitate the example of His Son. For all of the complexity of theology and the mystery of who God is, faith is the most natural thing in the world because we were made for it. Listen to Him; respond to Him.
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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.