1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20
The passage from 1 Samuel begins with a description of the religious situation of Israel after the time of the judges: "a revelation of the Lord was uncommon and vision infrequent". The twelve tribes of Israel were loosely bound together by the experience of the Exodus, by the revelations of God at Mt. Sinai and the giving of the Law, and by their successful yet tenuous establishment in the Promised Land. The people had no leader and no direction. It was time for God to act again. The Lord called the young Samuel three times during the night before the priest Eli realized that something was going on out of the ordinary. He instructed Samuel if he heard the voice again to reply: "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening". Do we listen for the Lord? I don’t think we are going to hear a voice. For us it comes down to how well we read the signs of the time. Do the words and actions of Pope Francis speak to our hearts? And after prayer, reflection and discernment what new directions/actions become a part of our lives?
The gospel passage presents us with Jesus in the role of miracle worker and healer. He was not hesitant about using his power to heal, even though he knew that it was problematic, that people might get the wrong idea of who he was. So the next day we see him getting up before dawn and slipping out of town to find a place where he can be alone and pray to his Father. His decision is to move on and not to bask in the adulation and excitement of the crowds looking for him. He must preach in the other villages and towns throughout the whole of Galilee. We need to ask ourselves about our own dedication to the "mission" we have from the Lord. Are we sometimes sidetracked or distracted or do we stay on course.
Do we find in prayer as Jesus did the strength to walk the path of discipleship?
Fr. Michael Hoolahan, C.P. is on the staff of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.