Sunday, January 11, 2015

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Samuel 3:1-10
Psalm 40
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
John 1:36-51

REFLECTION: “Knowing the Lord”

In our reading today from First Samuel, we hear something very interesting. As the story of the voices in Samuel’s head evolves, we are given what, off the top, seems like an afterthought detail. “Samuel did not yet know Yahweh because he had never had a message from Yahweh before.” 

Samuel then goes to Eli the priest, who finally figures out that God is calling to him, and so he tells him how to respond. Samuel, therefore, has his first experience with God in a personally manifest way.
Things are a bit different a thousand or so years later when Jesus is making the rounds after his baptism, while some of John’s disciples accept his testimony about Jesus and begin to follow him, and while Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael none of them know exactly what they are getting into. They are, though unaware, hearing and responding to the voice of God – uttered by the Word itself made flesh.

Ultimately, this has to lead each of us to a question… have we had a genuine personal connection with God? Would we recognize him today if he called out to us?
Now, Samuel certainly knew of God. As a servant of Eli the priest, he couldn’t not know of God’s existence. The same goes for these early disciples… clearly they are devout Jews, at least the pair of John’s disciples who lead off our Gospel reading are waiting for the Messiah to come, so they respond when John acclaims Jesus as the Lamb. But they have no idea at this stage of the deeper Christological theology that is being reflected in the life and ministry of Jesus. To put it another way, they didn’t realize who they were responding to. 

I bring up these facts to call each of you, as we move into this new year, to seek out consistent, personal connections with God in your interior spiritual life. Liturgy and worship, ritual and sacrament, Scripture and personal prayer are essential parts of a healthy spiritual life, but when God is actively speaking to you through these means, and through other, more direct means, you can’t help but find joy in him.

We pray for the Church:
May all who are united in Christ Jesus hear his voice,
in their assembled worship,
in their study of Scripture,
and in the silence of their hearts.
O Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.
We pray for our Nation and Community:
May our president, Barack,
the members of the new congress,
and those tasked with governance here in our own state and community
be opened to the promptings of the Spirit,
that we may be peaceably and equitably governed.
O Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

We pray for the Young:
May all those who are growing towards adulthood
be blessed with an ever deepening personal understanding
of who God is,
and how he is calling to them in their lives.
O Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.
We pray for the Elderly:
May they continue to experience God’s presence in their lives,
empowering them for service,
dispelling all fears,
and filling them with hope,
as they ponder what the future holds for them.
O Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

We pray for our own personal needs and concerns…
When we are anxious,
when we are fearful,
and when we are uncertain,
may we hear God’s voice in a way that is unmistakable,
and trust that he will answer as is best for us.
O Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.