1Sm 3:1-10,19,20; Ps 40:2,5,7-10; Mk 1:29-39
Those who wait and wait for the LORD are satisfied only when He stoops down and listens intently. Blessed, indeed, are those who know that the LORD is trustworthy. They have nothing to do with idols; they do not get lost in the power, pleasure and prestige of this world. They do not buy into the self-deceptions of culture. When they seek the will of God, when they ask the LORD to direct them, they find out the truth. The LORD wants us to have ears open to obedience. Such an ability to hear and respond to the Word of God is itself a gift. It is a gift called faith. Growth in this gift of faith demands nothing less than total self surrender. We must cry out freely and generously, “Behold I come.” Only when we have prayed in this manner will we be able to rejoice with Psalm 40, “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me. To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!” Such total self-surrender cannot be held back, and with unrestrained lips it must be announced to the vast assembly. This kind of openheartedness Samuel had to learn, and all Israel had to learn that Samuel was an accredited prophet of the LORD. The Lord Jesus preached, healed and cast out demons to establish his credibility. How do contemporary disciples of the Lord Jesus become credible?
Perhaps we need to take a second look at the first reading to learn about our own growth process. Indeed, by our baptism into the boundless mystery of the Body of Christ we have begun to live out our union with the Lord Jesus. We, too, are called to be priest, royal, and prophet. Samuel was an accredited prophet of the LORD because he heard the persistent call of the LORD and he responded with immediate obedience. In our own day revelation of the LORD seems to be uncommon and vision infrequent. We, too, need mentors who can teach us to listen actively for the voice of the LORD. We need what today would be called a Spiritual Director, someone who can teach us how to listen. Active listening involves a certain level of expectation and a total openness to the next moment of revelation. However, this process cannot cease with hearing or even listening. The follow up must involve obedience, joyful obedience. Then and only then will we come to know the LORD, confidently and intimately. Then and only then will the LORD prohibit any word of ours to be without effect. Both the Psalm and the first reading have much to teach us about our new identity in Christ. In the Lord Jesus we are priest, royal, and prophet.
The Lord Jesus did not stay in one place. He did not get stuck on success. The Christ did not hesitate to heal Simon’s mother-in-law. The Christ did not hesitate to heal all who were ill or possessed by demons. The Christ did not hesitate to rise early before dawn and find a place for solitude with the Father. After his prayerful union with the Father, the Lord Jesus did not hesitate to move on to other nearby villages to preach and heal. This he knew was his purpose. Indeed his target audience was the whole of Galilee. The Lord Jesus listened and obeyed without hesitation. He listened to the needs of the sick and possessed. He listened to the voice of his Father. To both human need and divine plan the Lord was open and responsive, immediately responsive. This is the quality of prayer that will enable us to grow in our prophetic identity. Without this kind of active listening and immediate response there is little authenticity.