Our first reading talks about obedience. It also has a great moment when Samuel tells Saul has a word from the Lord for him. Saul listens. Obedience is knowing God always has something more to say to us. Cardinal Tobin said something like that. Obedience comes from the Latin word that means “to listen.” Obedience is listening for God and acting accordingly. Wanting to hear more of what he has to say, wanting to shape our lives after it.
I remember going to confession to a wonderful Dominican priest when I was at IU. I confessed that I had fallen asleep in adoration a few times. Sad to say, this is not an infrequent confession for me! Normally the priest says something like, “That’s ok, just rest in Jesus.” Not Fr. Stan. He asked me, “Michael, do you want the real presence of Jesus?” I said, “I guess so…that’s why I went to adoration in the first place.” He said, “Just remember: God wants your real presence just as you want his.”
Two things I want to consider: 1) our thirst of Jesus’ real presence and 2) his thirst for our real presence
1) Our thirst of Jesus’ real presence
In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks, “What are you looking for?” Everyone is looking for God. Because everyone is looking for love, for happiness, for meaning, for salvation and redemption, for peace….and Jesus is all those things. Some don’t know they’re looking for God…for his real presence…but everyone is. Chesterton: Even the man in the brothel is looking for love. We are all hungering for Jesus’ real presence. We may not know it, but we are. Our job is to look for him, to hunger for his presence, to want him and put that want and desire in the hearts of our kids!
2) God’s thirst for our real presence
On the cross, Jesus says “I thirst” …. he is thirsting for us. He calls Samuel a bunch of times! Finally Samuel gets it, who is calling. But you gotta give it to him…he gets out of bed when he hears his name. He doesn’t wait for tomorrow, he doesn’t put it off. To give God our real presence we need to be attentive to him, with our spiritual antennas raised up…and then we need to ACT! Samuel gets up immediately. Andrew in our gospel hears a prompting from the Lord to invite his brother Peter to Jesus, and he doesn’t doubt…doesn’t ask, what will he think of me? what if he doesn’t want to? Nope..Andrew hears that prompting and does something. Because he did, Peter met Jesus and we got a pope. Paul says in our second reading….you gotta give Jesus your body! He uses the word body 7 times. You love Jesus? Prove it by what you do with your hands, your feet, your mind, your heart….prove it! You can’t give your life, your real presence to the Lord without giving him your bodies!
Fr Meyer teaches the beautiful 5 second rule….whenever you know God is calling you to do something, count back from 5 and do it…or at least get started on it. If we don’t, we forget about it and fail to give God our full selves, our real presence.
To give God our real presence….which he wants….we must be attentive to promptings and do what he asks…concretely!!!
Sometimes a picture is worth 1000 words.
Daily, we must daily surrender to a will that is greater than ourselves. His will. That is what counts. Surrendering brings such joy and happiness!
When the Lord speaks to us, we must answer promptly! Samuel didn’t wait until the morning to deal with the calling he heard. He answered immediately. A lot of times, if we put it off…we end up not doing the thing we feel the Holy Spirit calling us to do.
A friend of mine told me about the time when she held her baby boy for the first time. She said she couldn’t explain what happened in her heart at that moment….it was won over immediately, indefinitely, totally. Surely Hannah felt that too as she held on to the baby boy God finally gave her. We hear that story today in our first reading. Anyone who has ever fell in love knows how that feeling of love simply overpowers you; the heart skips beats, it almost bursts. Everything looks different. Our responsorial psalm today says, “my heart exults in the Lord.” In other words, we pray that we might love God enough that our hearts are just as in love with him–even more so–than they’ve ever been with another person. Love God, and everything works out!
“The best action flows from a vibrant prayer life.” Matthew Kelly