Reading (1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20) Gospel (St. Mark 1:29-39)
In the first reading today, we hear about the call of Samuel. What is most important is what Eli the priest tells Samuel to do when the Lord calls, that is, to respond by saying, Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening. That is a lesson all of us need to learn, to be able to say, “I will do whatever You want. Speak, Your servant is listening.” Not that most of us are going to audibly hear anything God is going to say, but rather what we need to be willing to do is to do His Will.
We will all say that we want to do God’s Will, but the reality is most of us really do not want to do God’s Will; in fact, we want to do our own will rather desperately. Consequently, when God asks us to do something that is contrary to our will, we do not do it because we only want to do God’s Will when it is convenient: “When God is asking the same thing that I already want to do, well, then I’ll be happy to do it. But if God is going to ask me to do something that I don’t want to do, or that wasn’t in my plan, well, forget it then.” That obviously is the wrong attitude.
Remember always that what God wants is what is the best, and He is going to ask us to do things that are not going to be easy and are not going to be the way we would have done it. We need to learn simply to accept and to allow the Lord to lead. That is very hard for us because we like to control our own lives. Again, as we have mentioned many times, by now we should have given ample proof to our own selves that leading our own lives is quite a mistake. It does not work – it never has and it never will. But for some reason, which is beyond human comprehension, we still think we can do a better job than God. We need to learn to let go.
Now when we listen to what Our Lord is saying, for instance in the Gospel when Peter comes and says, “Lord, everyone’s looking for you,” the Lord simply says, “Let’s go to the other villages.” Well, that is not what Peter would have had in mind. Peter wanted the Lord to come back to his house. He had just healed his mother-in-law, all these people came and were cured, so Peter’s idea is: “Bring the Lord back into the town here and let’s keep things going.” And Jesus said, “No, we have other places to go.”
Are we willing to drop what our plans were to do His? That is really what we have to ask. How are we going to find out? The only way is to pray. Obviously, we can just simply carry on in our lives and deal with what gets dropped in our laps, but we have to remember that the devil is going to be more than happy to drop things in our laps too in order to get us running around in circles – especially in order to make sure we are not doing what God’s Will really is. The devil will give us lots of good things to do, as long as we are not doing what God wants us to do. And we will convince ourselves that because everything we are doing is good that it must be of God. Not necessarily. That is why we need to bring it all to prayer and ask the Lord to show us what He wants, and we have to be willing to let go of anything; whatever God wants us to let go of, that is what we have to let go. That, again, is something rather frightening to most of us because we are attached to some of these things.
So we really need to ask ourselves: Am I willing to go before the Lord and tell Him that I will do His Will? Am I willing to look at the Lord and say, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening”? Or are we planning simply to go to prayer and say, “Listen, Lord, Your servant is speaking”? It does not work very well that way. We need to learn to open our hearts, to hear the voice of God speaking in the silence, to be willing to let go of our plans, and to do whatever it is that He tells us to do.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.