January 14th, 2004
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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.
to the writer of this reflection.
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