We are now back in the season of Ordinary Time. During this season, the Church focuses on the teachings of Christ and His everyday life. Today’s theme is: God calls.
In the first reading, we read of Samuel who is called by God but he does not realize it. He thinks it is Eli who is calling him. Eli is the high priest who is training Samuel. Again God calls out to Samuel, but he thinks it is Eli who then tells him to go back to sleep. This goes on three times and at the third time is when Eli realized that it was God calling Samuel. Notice that God calls out to Samuel three times foreshadowing the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Why was God calling Samuel? Was God making cosmic prank calls? No not at all. God called Samuel just like He calls each one of us to do something in this world (Jeremiah 1:5). We sometimes do not realize that God is calling us and confuse Him for someone else as in the case with Samuel who thought it was Eli calling him. Many times we even hide from God when He calls us as Adam and Eve did way back in the beginning (Genesis 3:9). This is why discernment is important when we hear a call within ourselves. We must make sure it is God calling and understand what He wants of us. Like Samuel, we must respond to the call with: “speak Lord for your servant is listening.” God will then inform us what He wants us to do.
The responsorial Psalm responds to the first reading with “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” This Psalm reminds us that once we hear God’s call, we must make a choice. Hopefully the choice will be, “Here am I, I come to do your will.”
In the second reading, St. Paul reminds us that our bodies are not for immorality, but for God. The body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. We often look in awe at the beautiful Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and other buildings built in honor of God. However, there is one temple that trumps all of these man-made beauties and that is our human body. It is this body which God uses to spread the Good News around the world. We must respect our bodies by keeping them healthy not only physically, but also spiritually (1 Timothy 4:8). Today we live in a world that preaches to us that the body belongs to us and we can do whatever we want to it. We waste medical resources trying to look younger or to alter our appearance. We kill our unborn because they are deemed an “inconvenience” or unplanned. This is an affront to God and nature. The body belongs to God. It was created by God and it returns to dust at the command of God. This body of ours must serve God and not the vices of this world which destroy the body (Romans 12:1-2).
Finally in the Gospel we read of Christ calling His first disciples. This ties in with the first reading. It is God who calls us. There might be an Eli or John there (friend, priest, religious guide, spiritual director), but the voice that calls is of God. Notice how the disciples leave everything and follow Him. Christ calls us to leave all things behind (Matthew 16:24). When we follow Christ, it will not be puppies and kittens or apples and peaches. Things will get rough. We will have much to suffer because we will be taking on a role; a way of life that is different from what this world offers. The world offers us riches, success, popularity, fun and so forth. Christ offers us eternal life, joy and love that never dissipates, but at the cost of losing ourselves in this world. Like in the movie, “The Matrix,” we must allow God to “unplug” us from this reality that has us imprisoned in a life of sin and hedonism which brings temporary happiness that never leads to joy. Getting “unplugged” is not a smooth ride, so to speak. It can be scary and may cause us to rethink our decision to accept God’s call. However, we must trust God and know that He is God and has control of all things (Psalm 46:10). When we let God in completely, nothing in this world will bother us, not even death. So let us listen to God’s call in our lives and reply to it like Samuel did, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”