Homily (2) 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B: Fr. Udoekpo, MichaelReadings: 1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19; Ps 40:2, 4, 7-10; 1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20 and John 1:35-42
Listening to the Lord who Calls Us
Today we live in a very noisy and pluralistic society. Noise from fireworks, violence, religious extremisms, alarms, sirens, loud music, trumpets, car horns, sports whistles, cell phones, Tvs, Radios, gun fires, bomb blasts, thunders and wild winds, baby cries, sounds from animals and birds etc., plus people yelling/shouting at each other, wars and threats of wars, such that listening or paying attention in our various locations of life, is becoming increasingly important today, especially in matters that has to do with our relationship with God, who calls us reveals himself to us in different forms, especially in the poor, the rich, men, women and children.
In the readings, especially in the first reading (1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19), and in the Gospel (John 1:35-42), the familiar call stories of Samuel and that of the Disciples of Christ: Andrew, Peter, etc., are presented, respectively. Each of these stories though delights of many preachers, are meant to remind us, among other things, that even though God initiates calling us to different stages of life, he expects us to respond with love and devotion. But, we cannot respond to what we have not heard. And how can we hear unless we listen, unless we remain focus, and resist those distractions!
In the first reading, Samuel is called do what many of Israel’s judges and the sons of Eli had failed to do. To carry the banner of love and keep the torch of the covenant-promise which the Lord had established with the house Israel. As a prophet Samuel would anoint the initial Kings of Israel. In hearing God’s voice he not only took counsel from Eli, but carefully and obedient responded, on the 3rd instance, as instructed, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” This might have well reminds us of Deuteronomy 4 , where Israel as a whole is called to listen, shamah Yisrael, but Samuel’s response, with a participle expression “listening” ([mv) adds to the force of his readiness and docility, also found in the voice of today’s psalmist, “here I am Lord I come to do your will” (Ps 40), and of our mother Mary, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me as you will” ( Luke 1:38), heard during Christmas!
Recognizing Jesus in the Gospel account, John the Baptist said, “Behold the lamb of God” (John 1, 29, 35-42), as we do at every Mass. Interestingly, “the two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.” As Disciples of Christ God has called each of us in different ways, vocations and states of life: priests, religious, laity, celibate and in marriage. Many are also blessed in various areas of industries, socio-political and economic powers. In these callings, they are equally called to love, share their blessings with others, especially with the poor, the sick, the aged, the voiceless, immigrants, and the marginalized of the society.
Not being indifferent to the plight of the poor is form of listening to what God expects of us today, which Pope Francis has also expressed in his recent teachings, particularly in his New Year message of Peace, “that we are no Longer slaves, but brothers and sister.” Our calling and how we respond to Christ must be inviting to others, women, men, children, the poor and the needy.
Let us pray that, in spite of the “noise,” the “distractions,” the “pluralism of ideologies,” the “sirens” that blow in all forms, we may like Samuel and the initial disciples of Jesus, of today’s Gospel, listen to his divine calling, and be ready to follow the “Lamb of God,” or say, in our lives and actions, “speak, Lord your servant is listening”!