In the first reading today, we’re in 1 Samuel 3, reading about the call of Samuel. It is a story that we can take lessons from. In the Gospel reading from Mark 1, Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law, then heals all in town that needed healing. After some prayer alone, Jesus tells his disciples that He must go about to the nearby villages to preach, “For this purpose have I come.”
God called Samuel at a young age. Now, we don’t know if God called Samuel in an audible way, but we know that Samuel heard Him clearly. Samuel thinks it is the priest, Eli, calling him. After Samuel approaches Eli a couple of times, the priest realizes that it is God who is calling Samuel. He tells the youth, “If you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” And that is exactly what Samuel does.
What often strikes me is Samuel’s openness to hearing God. “Here I am,” he says. He then follows Eli’s orders. “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Isn’t it all too often the other way around? “Listen, Lord! I’m speaking!” Have you ever heard the old expression that God gave us two ears and one mouth, and He expects us to use them in those proportions? I think this is especially true in our relationship with God. But it is nearly impossible to hear God with all the noise of the world constantly bombarding us. Make it a point today to listen to God in the quiet. That’s where we really hear Him.
Father, speak to us. And give us the grace to listen, as we, too, are your servants. Amen.