Homily Second Sunday Year B Surrending to the call

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Homily Second Sunday Year B

Reading 1: The prophet Samuel was a gift from God to his parents, who were without children for many years. After praying with great intensity, his mother was told she would conceive. Once the child was born and of age—around 12—his parents brought him to the Temple in Shilo to be consecrated and serve the Lord there. It was the place housing the Ark of the Covenant.

 This is where we pick up our story in today’s reading. God had special plans for Samuel. He was to be a prophet of the Lord at a time when Israel was unfaithful to God. At first, Samuel did not know how to hear or to respond to the Lord. It was easy for him to misread the initial call of the Lord. His focus was on serving Eli, the priest

 It was Eli, the priest of the Temple, who discerned that God was calling the young boy. He told Samuel to respond: “Speak, Lord for your servant is listening.”

When Samuel did this, then God was able to prepare him for the prophetic role ahead. As part of that role, he would anoint first Saul as King of Israel and then David.

The call from God is the same for each of us. God encounters us. He loves us first. But so many things distract us and we fail to distinguish the inner voice of God calling to us. God waits for us to respond the same way as Samuel—I am your servant ready to do your will. This is what we proclaimed in the response to the reading. God wants to reveal a new moment in our lives but we will not recognize it until we surrender to the Lord in love and trust. When we do, maybe the same effect in Samuel’s life will occur in ours. “The Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.”

Gospel: The call and response of Samuel points to the call and response of the first disciples of Jesus.  It begins with a personal encounter with Jesus. The voice of God may be first heard through others like John the Baptist. “Behold the Lamb of God.”  In the case of Peter, the invitation of his brother Andrew was what led Peter to Jesus. Who was the person whom God used to reach out to you?

Something stirred in the hearts of Andrew and John and they began to follow after Jesus with initial curiosity. Jesus intervened and invited them to get in touch with the grace of God stirring in their hearts. What Jesus shared with them, we do not know. I speculate he shared his own encounter with the Father at his baptism.  He probably shared how much the Father loved him and he loved the Father. He may have shared his awareness of his mission to bring the Good News of God’s love to others.

Andrew was so touched that he went to find his brother, Simon and invited him to meet this person, Jesus, who may be the Messiah. Jesus, in turn, encountered Simon by initiating a change in his life by giving him a new name. This was the first of many personal encounters with Jesus which made Simon, now Peter, to be transformed from being an unknown fisherman to the great Apostle upon whom Jesus would found his Church.

God is calling each of us, encountering each of us. Like Peter we may initially resist and drag our feet in the process of transformation. We may fall short many times in our journey of surrendering to the will of God.

Reading 2: What is it that God desires us to surrender? Is it not our will, which can either choose to love God or to turn away from God in sin? When we sin we think, we are expressing our independence and our self-identity. But in fact, when we sin, we show ourselves slaves of our desires and tendencies or a slave of Satan. We forget that by virtue of creation, we belong to God, who has given us life and the freedom to know what is good and right. When we sin, we forget that Jesus, who died on the cross and gave up his life to save us from eternal death, namely alienation from God. In the words of St. Paul: “You have been purchased at a price.”  We fail to remember that in baptism we became children of God and Temples of the Holy Spirit and that we belong to God.

Our bodies are not for immorality and self-indulgence but to be holy and pleasing to the Lord in thanksgiving for all God has done for us: from creation to redemption to sanctification.

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