Our readings this weekend have two “call” stories. In the first reading, the young Samuel is sleeping and the Lord calls him. He thinks it is his mentor, Eli, and three times he goes to Eli before Eli realizes it is the Lord calling and tells Samuel how to respond. In the Gospel, John the Baptist points to Jesus, two of his disciples follow Jesus who invites them to “Come and see,” and one of them (Andrew) goes and gets his brother, Simon.
There are two points I want to make. First of all, it is God who calls us. He initiates the dialog. Our job is to learn to listen, as did Samuel. Sometimes he does it through other people, both mentors (like parents, advisors, etc.) and ordinary people that we meet and interact with. Sometimes he calls to us through the circumstance and events of life. Often, he talks to us when we are taking quiet time to be in his presence. A personal example: I was teaching English to college students when one said to me, “I wish you were a priest: you know how to listen to people.” That is what pushed me to enter theology and be ordained. A call from God??
Second, we need to live in such a way that God can use us to call others, as John the Baptist did for Andrew and Andrew did for Peter. We never know how God will use what we say and do to influence others for the good. I’m sure that student had no idea of the effect she had in my life. Being kind to someone who is rude can change that person’s attitude. But it is harder for God to use us when we lose it or are being selfish.
The bottom line is this: God uses us to call to others and he calls to us through other people and events. We need to live so as to be “usable,” while being as alert as possible to hear the call coming to us. God is walking with us, always: how blessed we are!
Church sign of the week: God’s voice is as loud as your willingness to listen.