On this second Sunday of what we call “ordinary time”, we hear words that for me tell the whole tale: “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” In a nutshell this is exactly what it means to be called by the Lord: first we listen and hear, and then we respond. The response may be a yes and, in some cases, it may even be a no. Samuel heard the call, even though at first he was confused and needed a wiser more attentive guide to help him realize what was happening! And, as we see in our Gospel, John, Andrew, and Simon Peter heard the call of the Lord, as well. The truth is, the Lord calls us all and, if we are listening carefully and are not distracted by all the noise around us, we, too, can hear God’s call, whether it be a quiet whisper or, as with the Apostles, an unforgettable, face to face encounter with Jesus himself.
I can only imagine the moment when Jesus called those first Apostles. How compelling must have been the voice and the very presence of Jesus when he simply said, “Come and see.” But there is just no escaping this simple fact: we are all called by the Lord.
In a very real way the heart of the retreat and preaching ministry that we Passionists are devoted to is all about helping men and women, young and old, to hear the voice of Jesus and to respond to his call. In baptism we are claimed for Christ, we belong to God, and certainly not to a world filled with human expectations. And for the rest of our lives the task is to listen, to hear, and ultimately to respond to God’s ongoing call day by day.
Sometimes the call is clear as crystal. At other times we need, like Samuel, the wisdom of others to help us know what it is the Lord is asking of us. But one thing is for sure. If we are listening and willing, too, then we will be able to respond joyfully and without hesitation with the great words of our responsorial psalm: Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”
Fr. Pat Brennan, C.P. is the director of Saint Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.