By Amy Schisler
“The two disciples heard him say this and they followed Jesus.
Jesus turned, and saw them following,
and said to them, ‘What do you seek?'” ~ John 1:37-38a
My favorite hymn as a child was, Here I Am, Lord. I loved the rhythm and the simple prose, and I thought the sentiment behind the words was lovely, even if I didn’t quite understand their importance. As an adult, the song continues to be my favorite hymn, bringing tears to my eyes every time I hear it. Though I still love the music and the words, the more profound meaning gets to me now. Jesus asks us to serve, and we need to respond like Samuel and the Apostles, ready to answer and do His will.
Awaiting God’s Call
In our first reading from 1 Samuel 3, we hear the beautiful story of God’s call to Samuel. This young, future judge of Israel lived his entire life apart from his parents in the temple with Eli, the priest, awaiting God’s call. It was not Samuel’s decision to be left with Eli. Instead, Samuel was left to fulfill a promise made by Hannah to God before Samuel was even conceived in her womb. When God called Samuel, then a grown man, Samuel could have turned his back on God and chosen his own path in life. He could have ignored God’s voice or allowed himself to be distracted by his desire to sleep. Instead, he awoke, listened, and upon learning it was God who called to him, offered the humble answer, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).
A generation later, David wrote in Psalm 40 the beautiful words, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” David, a man whom God chose as one whose heart was the very image of God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), turned his back on God’s law and committed heinous sins. Still, God loved David, and David’s psalms express his remorse and desire to serve the Lord.
Hearing God’s Call
Many generations passed before Jesus asked Andrew and John, “What are you looking for?” They immediately followed Him, asking where He was staying. Then, they sought others and encouraged them to join (Andrew’s brother, Simon, John’s brother, James, and Andrew’s friend, Phillip). Without hesitating, they answered Jesus’ question with their actions.
Jesus still asks this question, but many fail to hear it or understand from whom it comes. So many of us spend our lives searching for meaning, happiness, and belonging when Jesus openly and willingly offers us all that and more. When faced with Jesus’ question, we look for the answer in other people, media and entertainment, or addictions. We often overlook the most basic, obvious places—Holy Scripture, the Mass, the Church.
Answering God’s Call
Listen for the voice of Jesus in your daily life. Shut out the noise and the distractions. Be alert and awake. He is asking, “What are you looking for?” All you need to answer is, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will,” “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Heavenly Father, help us be alert, tune out distractions, and hear Your word. Help us to act and always to do Your will. Amen.
Call to Action
What is God calling you to do? Where in your life can you be of service? Is there a need in your parish or community that you can fill? Look around, ask what needs to be done, then listen and reply, “Here am I, Lord.”
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