Samuel is a little boy. His mother dedicated him to the Lord, and now he is growing up under the direction of the religious leader, Eli. Eli probably isn’t the best at training young Samuel. Eli has two children who are not serving the Lord. Eli himself has lost communication with the Lord for some time.
The first reading mentions that Samuel is sleeping in the temple. We need to understand what a temple was at this time. First, we are about a hundred years before Solomon. There was no grand temple. Moreover, this temple was not in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was not the capital. Rather, this temple is at Shilo. And this temple is not built of stone, but is still in a tent. The Ark of pact a was still housed in a tent.
God decides to speak directly to Samuel. But Samuel does not know that the Lord is calling. Three times he speaks to Eli proclaiming: “Here I am.” Finally, Eli realizes what is happening and instructs Samuel to say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” There is quite a difference in understanding by saying “I am here” and “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” Saying “Here I am” means you consider yourself in control, in charge. Saying, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening” indicates that you are ready to conform your will to the will of God. Isn’t that what we are called to do?
Jesus invites us to “come and see.” We always have the opportunity to say that we do not have to follow Jesus. But if you accept His invitation, your eyes will be opened. Jesus does not tell Andrew, one of the two who seek Jesus, what they will see. But the invitation is given. If they conform their will to God’s will, their eyes will be opened. We know the rest of the story. Their eyes were opened.
This places us in the gospel. Jesus realizes that Andrew and another follower of John the Baptist follow him. He asks, “What are you looking for?” They respond as we do when we’re in a hardware store — oh, we’re just looking. We answer a question with a question when we don’t know how to answer it. But as any good employee knows, you start talking to them, asking questions, and soon they share the desire of their heart with you. What they truly want. As soon as Andrew and the other disciple leave, they go and tell others that they found the Messiah.
They found – meaning they recognized Jesus for something more. Jesus knew where they were all the time. He helped open their minds to the glory of God. Amazing, isn’t it? God knows where we are even if we do not. God knows what you want even if you do not. God will respond to you in love even if you do not. Come see and you will discover the greatness of God.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen