Daily Reflection
January 14th, 2004
Mike Cherney
Physics Department
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Today's readings show us a God who is active in the world. In the first reading we experience God's call to Samuel. In the Gospel we physically see God's healing grace.

I need to admit this is the way I like things. My faith would be so much easier if God occasionally bothered me in my sleep or I was able to routinely see miraculous healings. This is not the world that I experience. I watch the evening news and the signs that I so desire are not there. I can remember wanting a miracle as my sister and each of my parents passed away.

I can particularly relate to the opening of the reading from Samuel. "During the time young Samuel was minister to the Lord under Eli, a revelation of the Lord was uncommon and vision infrequent." It took several tries before the source of the message to Samuel became apparent. In today's world we have come not to expect such revelation. Perhaps this has led us to become bad listeners. (I know that is a trait which is lacking in my prayer and in my family interactions as well.) Nonetheless I want more. I am reminded of a description of the Shogun oppression of Christians in Japan and one of the character's struggle with his faith described in Endo Shusako's book, "Silence."  In the twenty-five years since I have read the book, I have been haunted by the character's desire for a sign and God's response of silence.

Mark's Gospel provides a steady stream of miracles. Today's reading continues a series started in the previous Gospels from this week. Based on what Mark gives his readers, I get the feeling that people two thousand years ago liked a clear sign as well.

Where does this lead me? Where does it take my prayer? First I find some consolation in that these stories are present. I know I am not alone in the process. Even when God spoke to Samuel, it took Eli to make Samuel aware of this gift. Eli also gave Samuel the response, "Speak Lord your servant is listening." This response is echoed in today's psalm. I find peace in letting these words also echo in my heart.


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