A bit late, but here is last week’s homily!
Deacon Jacob Maurer
There are two ways to approach ‘calling’ – the call that we receive and the call that we make to others.
The first concern of every person is this life should be God’s call to them. God is calling each of us, individually. That is a fact – and something we must believe, even when we think we aren’t worth it. It has often been said that if there was only one person in need of salvation, Jesus would still have come. Each of us is that person. God sent His Son for you and is calling you to know Him and to receive His love.
The problem with life is that there is just too much to do. And when we don’t have immediate responsibilities, there is always something more interesting than listening to God. And besides, what does that mean, anyway? The lesson of Samuel is that listening to God means stopping whatever we’re doing at the moment and giving God our attention, our time.
Here’s a strategy I’d like to suggest to you. Not just a strategy, but a battle plan – because every day that you want to give time to God this is going to be a struggle. Something is going to come up – a job, a call, something you just remembered, an interesting television show, whatever. Fight off those other things and commit this time to God.
Make a half-hour window of time for God. Do this each day for the next week. Even if you don’t think its going to be fruitful! Commit to a week. And then follow this simple plan for that time:
First, just tell God whats going on. Don’t make things up, don’t try to fake some kind of movie holiness, just tell Him whats going on. Whats on your mind, what has been good about the day, what has been hard. Whatever has been on sticking with you for the day is probably something you should tell God anyway. And God’s going to listen – so take this first part to tell Him.
When you’re done with that – whether you’re just tired of telling or out of things to say – spend five minutes in silence. Don’t go to sleep, just sit with God. If you get distracted, acknowledge the thoughts and come back. Try to relax and simply let God have an opportunity to respond. God doesn’t always speak directly to us, but often times there is some reassurance, realization or inspiration that He sends to us in silence.
Finally, ask God for something. And make it something you care about.
You might not need the full half-hour, but make sure its at least fifteen minutes, with that solid 5 minutes of silence. I’d be willing to bet that after a week you find God giving you some benefits from this time – and if you keep it up for two weeks, I suspect that you’d find yourself wondering how you ever did without it.
God calls to us softly – and He does it when we’re most available – when we’re least distracted. This time gives God a chance to call to us and for us to sit back and hear Him. This is so important because we also work with God. God uses us to call others. Not just in our words, but in everything we do. The more time we spend with God, the more He can lift our burdens and change us.
The first reading ends in telling us that Samuel grew up with the Lord, who did not permit any of his words to be without effect. And the second reading has Paul telling us to glorify God in our bodies. This is the crux of Christian work – to speak and act in ways that change the world and glorify God. When others listen to us and see what we do, are they drawn to Jesus? Are we Christians in who we are, or is it just a nametag?
In the gospel, as Jesus walks by, John says “Behold the Lamb of God”. Just before we come up to receive communion, Father will echo this proclamation in the words Jesus said to the Apostles: “Behold the Lamb of God [who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are we who are called to His supper].” We respond with the prayer of a soldier to a king: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
Receive the word of God, the Body of Christ, and commit yourselves again to be transformed into a people who proclaim Him, in word and deed.