First reading: 1 Sam. 3:3b–10,19
Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was. The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.” Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.” “I did not call you,” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.” So he went back to sleep. Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. “Here I am,” he said. “You called me.” But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet. The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth. So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.
Second reading: 1 Cor. 6:13c–15a,17–20
Brothers and sisters: The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body; God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him. Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.
Gospel: Jn. 1:35–42
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi”—which translated means Teacher—“where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah”—which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas”—which is translated Peter.
In other words
by Fr. Ferdie Bajao, SVD (Rome, Italy)
It was a workshop activity designed for us who would serve as facilitators and coordinators for the Family Feast in the seminary. It was done through a game that was played in pairs. One functioned as the Guide, and the other one as the Navigator. The Navigator got blindfolded. He was tasked to go through a maze, and bring back specified items strewn about a labyrinth of twists and turns. Under time pressure, the “blind” player had to retrieve some of these items by listening carefully to the Guide’s instructions on how to move about. It sounded easy at first until other voices started to drown the Guide’s voice.
Blind and confused, the Navigators started to lose their way, mistaking one instruction with another, missed some steps, bumped into each other—in total chaos! Equally confused and exasperated at their wandering and erring Navigators, the Guides had to shout in desperation to be heard. It was a noisy but and not without lessons. Clearly, the game underlined the importance of seeing, by recognizing the Guide’s voice among the many voices.
Samuel heard the voice calling out to him but he mistook it as Eli’s voice. It was Eli who recognized finally the Voice. His familiarity with God’s ways and presence brought him to that recognition. By teaching Samuel to say: ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,’ he enabled Samuel to be aware of God’s presence with a heightened sense of ‘hearing’ and eventually into a deeper ‘listening’ befitting a prophet.
In the Gospel, another prophet, John the Baptist, had a sight beyond sight: as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” His recognition of Jesus pierced through the riddles, prophecies, and other concepts of what and who the Messiah is. This is blessed ‘seeing,’ a heightened sense of vision that made him see while the rest of world is blind.
Again, like Samuel, John the Baptist enabled his disciples to see more than what meets the eye. Jesus himself affirmed their desire to see: “What are you looking for?” and invited them: “Come, and you will see.” In the end, this desire to see was rewarded with: “We have found the Messiah.”
Interestingly, both in the ‘listening’ of Samuel, and the ‘searching’ of the disciples, emerged Samuel the prophet, and Peter whom Jesus looked at, the head of the disciples, the rock on which he will build his Church. ‘Hearing’ and ‘seeing’ bring forth people whom Saint Paul refers to in the Second Reading as united with the Lord: “Whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” This oneness leads to the fulfillment of God’s will, as he promised by “not permitting any word of his to go unfulfilled.”
This is timely. As we go through the days of Ordinary Time after the great and high feasts of Christmas and Epiphany, we are challenged to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ Christ in the mundane setting and rhythms of daily life given its twists and turns. We are in the maze of the world as we become Guides and Navigators ourselves. While it is easy to contemplate on Christ with the aid of Christmas trees and carols, it is when life becomes ordinary that these other voices compete with the voice of Christ, and we are ‘blindfolded’ by our sins and our laziness to focus.
Thanks to Guides sent our way to help us discern the Voice, and distinguish it from the other competing voices in the world. As Navigators, we take heed of Saint Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”