1 Sam. 3:3b-10, 19; 1 Cor. 6:13c-15a, 17-20; Jn. 1:35-42
During today's First Reading from the First Book of Samuel, [1 Sam. 3:3-10, 19] we heard that the Lord God called Samuel. At that time, Samuel was not too enlightened about spiritual matters. Being worldly minded, he believed that Eli was calling him. As an obedient servant, three times after hearing a call, he went to Eli and asked him what he wanted. Each time, Eli told Samuel that he had not called him. As we heard, God had to call Samuel three times before Eli realized that the Lord God was calling Samuel.
Samuel answered his calling from God. The life of Samuel is a living example to each and everyone of us. As Samuel grew in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord, we too are called to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord.
The Bible gives many examples of God’s calling and their responses.
God called Abraham (Genesis 12:1-4) to leave his country, his people, and his father's household and go to the land God would show him. In response, Abraham embarked on a journey of faith and became the father of the nation of Israel.
God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and called him to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt(Exodus 3:1-12). Despite initial reluctance, Moses became a great leader and the lawgiver for the Israelites.
Isaiah experienced a vision of God in the temple(Isaiah 6:1-8), and he heard the Lord asking, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Isaiah responded with, "Here am I. Send me!" He became a prophet proclaiming God's messages to the people.
Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-10): God called Jeremiah to be a prophet even before he was born. Despite Jeremiah's initial feelings of inadequacy, God assured him and appointed him to speak on His behalf to the nations.
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary (Luke 1:26-38)and announced that she would conceive and give birth to the Son of God. Mary's willing response, "Let it be to me according to your word," marked her acceptance of God's extraordinary calling.
Acts 9:1-19 speaks about the call of Saul. He was a persecutor of Christians until he encountered the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. Jesus called him to be an apostle to the Gentiles, and Saul's life was transformed, becoming one of the most influential figures in early Christianity.
These biblical examples demonstrate the diversity of God's calls, ranging from leading nations to individual discipleship, and serve as inspiration for believers to be attentive to God's call in their own lives.
When we read the life of saints we find similar examples.
St. Francis of Assisi received his call in a dramatic situation. Francis was the son of a wealthy merchant who, after a dramatic experience of hearing God's voice from a crucifix, renounced his worldly possessions and embraced a life of poverty. He felt called to rebuild the Church and founded the Franciscan Order, emphasizing simplicity, humility, and service to others.
Ignatius, a former soldier, underwent a profound spiritual conversion while recovering from battle injuries. During this time, he experienced a series of mystical visions and discerned a call to follow Christ more closely. Ignatius went on to establish the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and developed the Spiritual Exercises, a method of prayer and discernment.
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was captured by Irish pirates and enslaved as a young man. During his captivity, he found solace in prayer and heard a call from God to escape. After returning to his homeland, he experienced a vision calling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
The call of God continues in history. There are many everyday heroes, ordinary people who respond to God's call in simple yet profound ways. One concrete example is the story of Damien and Glenda Moore, a couple who demonstrated extraordinary compassion and selflessness during a tragic event.
Mother Mary Angelica, born Rita Rizzo on April 20, 1923, in Canton, Ohio, was a Franciscan nun who founded the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), one of the largest religious media networks in the world. Mother Angelica's journey and the establishment of EWTN are indeed a compelling example of responding to God's call.
Rita Rizzo experienced a difficult childhood marked by poverty and the separation of her parents. Despite the challenges, she developed a deep faith from an early age. In 1944, she entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration taking the name Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation.
In the early 1980s, Mother Angelica experienced a profound call from God during a visit to Chicago. While praying in a chapel, she felt a strong inspiration to use the power of media to spread the teachings of the Catholic faith. This calling marked the beginning of EWTN.
Another example is the live of the Moore family.
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy, one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history, struck the East Coast, causing widespread devastation. Among the severely affected areas was Staten Island, New York.
The Moore family, living in Staten Island, faced the unimaginable when the storm surge inundated their home. In the midst of the chaos, Damien and Glenda Moore, parents of two young sons, faced an unthinkable tragedy. The rising floodwaters separated the family, and despite Glenda's desperate efforts to seek refuge with her children, the Moore boys, Brandon and Connor, were swept away by the storm.
In the face of unimaginable grief and loss, the Moore family demonstrated a remarkable strength and resilience that touched the hearts of many. Instead of succumbing to bitterness and despair, they chose a path of compassion and service.
Damien and Glenda Moore, despite their own devastating circumstances, reached out to their community. They channelled their pain into a commitment to help others affected by Hurricane Sandy. The couple actively participated in relief efforts, providing assistance to their neighbours and joining hands with local organizations to offer support.
Their response to tragedy became an inspiring testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the capacity for love and compassion, even in the darkest moments. Through their acts of kindness and service, the Moore family embodied the teachings of Christ to love one another and be a source of comfort and support to those in need.
The Moore family's story serves as a powerful example of everyday heroes who, in the midst of personal tragedy, chose to respond to God's call by extending love, compassion, and assistance to others.
Dear brothers and sisters God's call is continued. As we navigate the complexities of our lives, we are reminded that God's voice is not distant or silent; rather, it is a gentle and persistent whisper, inviting us to recognize His call and respond faithfully.