Second Sunday in Ordinary Times (17/01/2021)
1 Sm 3: 3b-10, 19; 1 Cor 6: 13c-15a, 17-20; Jn 1: 35-42
By Fr. Samuel Simick S.J.
“See, I have come, Lord, to do Your will.”
The story from today’s first reading is quite interesting. Samuel, an amateur in the knowledge of the Lord, who hears a voice calling his name in the middle of the night, but could not recognize who it was. He thought it was his Guru Eli, so he ran to him and presented himself before Eli. Eli on the other hand was fast asleep not realizing that the boy Samuel has heard a call from the Lord he served day and night. Eli probably did not believe himself that the Lord was calling the boy. He advised Samuel to go to sleep again. This incident repeats three times before Eli, a wise man, a priest of God and an experienced man, realizes that this could be the voice of the Lord God. After that he guides the young Samuel to respond with “Speak Lord your servant is listening”.
This story indicates a very important, and probably the easiest, way to find God. A proper guidance to meet the Lord. If we do not have proper guidance we cannot realize the voice of the Lord. In worst case we may keep on sleeping and go on to wake up to the normal next day business. However, if we recognize the voice and listen to it, our next day would be completely different. Eli was slow to realize but he did realize the voice of God and directed the lad to listen and to respond to the voice, which made all the difference in the life of Samuel and in the life of the people of God. Eli’s guidance that night made Samuel the greatest prophet of Israel. If Eli had guided Samuel to let him sleep peacefully and not to bother him again even if he hears a voice, a prophet would have been lost.
Similarly, the Gospel today talks of people who guided others to Jesus, the Lord. First John guided his own disciples to Jesus, which gave the disciples a firsthand experience of the Lord. Their firsthand experience of Jesus ignited a fire within them to follow him and to proclaim him to others. Simon was introduced to Jesus by Andrew, one of John’s disciples. Simon was given a new name by Jesus, he was called Cephas, meaning Peter the Rock. This firsthand experience changed Simon to Peter and his entire life was dedicated to the Lord, not only his life even his death was dedicated to the Lord.
The readings today invite us to be a guiding light. We may think, “If the Lord wants, things will happen” however, we know we are given this mandate of proclaiming the Good News to the whole world (Mk. 16:15). We must do our part to bring people to the Lord, if we do not become the guiding light for those who are in darkness we will be failing in the discipleship of the Lord.
The other dimension of the readings today is a personal experience of the Lord. Unless and until we have a personal experience of the Lord, we will not be changed, we will remain as we were, we may always remain in our slumber and never wake up to the Kingdom of God. We have so many examples of people who say they are Christians or believers but live a life exactly opposite of the commandments. Change will take place only if we have a personal experience of the Lord, there are so many examples in the Bible, today’s readings present to us, Samuel, Andrew and Simon who could not but change when they came in contact with the Lord. If we did not have a personal experience of the Lord, we will be those who say, Lord, Lord but do not do what the Lord says (Lk. 6:64).
The response, once we have personal experience of the Lord, is expressed so well in today’s responsorial Psalm and second reading. Once we realize what it means to be with the Lord, we are ready to offer all we have to the Lord, we are ready to do what the Lord wants in our life and in doing so we Glorify the Lord, which is the purpose of our life, as St. Ignatius expresses so profoundly in the Spiritual Exercises # 23.2 “Human beings are created to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord, and by means of doing this to save their souls.”
Today let us ask ourselves these few question, “Do I know the Lord?” “Do I have a personal experience of the Lord?” “Does my daily living show signs of my Lord’s experience?” or “Am I still in Slumber?”