Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

Deel Op

Feast of the Black Christ of Esquipulas in Guatemala, venerated throughout all of Central America.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Samuel 3,1-10.19-20

Now, the boy Samuel was serving Yahweh in the presence of Eli; in those days it was rare for Yahweh to speak; visions were uncommon. One day, it happened that Eli was lying down in his room. His eyes were beginning to grow dim; he could no longer see. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying in Yahweh's sanctuary, where the ark of God was, when Yahweh called, 'Samuel! Samuel!' He answered, 'Here I am,' and, running to Eli, he said, 'Here I am, as you called me.' Eli said, 'I did not call. Go back and lie down.' So he went and lay down. And again Yahweh called, 'Samuel! Samuel!' He got up and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am, as you called me.' He replied, 'I did not call, my son; go back and lie down.' As yet, Samuel had no knowledge of Yahweh and the word of Yahweh had not yet been revealed to him. Again Yahweh called, the third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am, as you called me.' Eli then understood that Yahweh was calling the child, and he said to Samuel, 'Go and lie down, and if someone calls say, "Speak, Yahweh; for your servant is listening." ' So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Yahweh then came and stood by, calling as he had done before, 'Samuel! Samuel!' Samuel answered, 'Speak, Yahweh; for your servant is listening.' Samuel grew up. Yahweh was with him and did not let a single word fall to the ground of all that he had told him. All Israel knew, from Dan to Beersheba, that Samuel was attested as a prophet of Yahweh.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The passage opens by noting that Samuel "was ministering to the Lord under Eli." However, it adds quickly, "the word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread." It was a difficult moment for Israel. Everything seems to be converging toward the fall of Israel without any possibility of rebirth. The rarity of prophecy meant the absence of God and therefore the absence of a light to guide the way. Without the Word of God visions, that is large perspectives of a future of peace and development for all of the people of Israel, were impossible. Listening to these words how can't we think of our times? Even today visions are rare and dreams of a more just and humane world without inequalities are difficult. We are in a global world but there is a lack of universal visions for all human family. Eli, who should have had such visions, was aged in his blindness and secluded in his room, and Samuel was still just a boy. However, Sacred Scripture reads, "The lamp of God had not yet gone out." The Lord was watching over His people. His love indeed is far greater than that of His children. And, look, while Samuel is sleeping the Lord calls him. Three times Samuel hears God's call and each time he runs to Eli. The third time, the priest tells Samuel what to do. It is true, Samuel has been living for years in the sanctuary, having direct contact with the high priest, but he does not know the Lord. One can know many things about God, but still not have a personal relationship with Him. Samuel heard three times, which means repeatedly, the Lord's voice and helped by the old Eli, finally said, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." He then received God's revelation. From that moment, the Word of God is no longer scarce. Rather, through Samuel the Word became a force of change. The words of the sacred author are full of meaning: "As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground." This exhortation is to all of us so that, like Samuel, we grow and do not let any words received from the Lord fall to the ground. The Lord entrusts the power of his Word to each of us so that it may be effective.