[COLUMN] The summon to listen

THE “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” These were Samuel’s words in today’s First Reading from the Book of Samuel (1Samuel 3:3b—10, 19). They signify openness, receptivity, and willingness to follow God’s commands. They highlight the establishment of a bond between a person and God.

Samuel uttered these words after receiving instructions from Eli, a high priest who served as his mentor and was responsible for caring for the tabernacle. It was during a night when Samuel heard a voice calling him. Mistakenly thinking it was Eli, his mentor, Samuel finally realized that it was God’s voice after hearing it multiple times. Following Eli’s guidance, Samuel opened his ears and heart, ready to listen to God’s call for him to assume a spiritual leadership role in Israel as a priest and prophet.

A similar incident occurred in this Sunday’s (January 14) Gospel. As Jesus passed by, John the Baptist directed two of his disciples to Jesus, saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” John’s words indicated that the disciples should follow the true Messiah. The two disciples promptly heeded John the Baptist’s instruction. They listened to Jesus’ teachings and followed him.

As we embark on the new year, God desires us to have the same disposition. We must listen to His voice through the summons of spiritual leaders in our church and community. These leaders are entrusted with the mission of guiding us towards the truth and wisdom of the Gospel, and ultimately towards Christ—who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Trusting them, for they have been called by God and endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit, is crucial in our journey towards a life of holiness, love, chastity, generosity, service, inclusivity, understanding, mercy, compassion,  forgiveness, kindness, peace, and justice.

As we continue to grow as a church community, let us remain attentive to the voice of God, urging us to place our trust in our spiritual leaders. Let their guidance inspire us to play our part in promoting peace and unity.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.


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