Sunday, 14 January 2018

Second Sunday - 2018

" Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord."

 There are many in the Church today who are very worried about the growing detachment from the practice of the faith by many of today’s younger generations. These elders seem to be at a lost how to respond – often fearing that if they try to say something it will only drive the young further away.In today’s first reading, there is an interesting verse that gives us some insight into the young Samuel’s state of faith. 
We read:Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
Another translation reads it: At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.”
“… did not yet KNOW the Lord, … not yet been REVEALED to him.” Knowing about someone or some thing is not the same as knowing them personally.

The response the elder Eli makes, has some interesting insight for today’s elders concerned for their younger one’s faith – an approach that might help us. To be concerned for the state of our young people’s faith is a valid one and must never be written off. The obstacles to the development of a practical faith by young people today are enormous and complex. It is vital for the elder generation to be there for the younger generations to be there with guidance and encouragement as was Eli for Samuel.

Now we must not think that we are more concerned for the faith of our young generations than is the Lord. God is calling, to be sure, and I believe God has a plan for this generation and the next, already working. It took a couple of wakeup calls before Eli was able to recognise that God had a plan for Samuel, and what his role was to be. Just so for us elders today. How does God want us to cooperate in his plan for our young generation?

Here are some suggests
·         Do not judge them or condemn their lack of religious practice – rather be discerning – think of Eli’s affectionate tone when he said: “It was not I calling you my son …” Let your concern be seen as love.

·         Realize that God is already working within them, speaking to their hearts, preparing them.

·         Be models of a living faith which demonstrates the reality of a living faith in a positive light.

·         Look for the signs, the openings that they may give you, and encourage them to keep seeking.

·         Tell them to go directly to God, in the midst of the confusing values surrounding them and trying to influence them today.

·         Pray for them without ceasing. Dedicate them to their Mother Mary.


Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Speak Lord, Your Servant Is Listening

During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli, a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent.
One day Eli was asleep in his usual place.

His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see.
The lamp of God was not yet extinguished, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was.

The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, "Here I am."
 Samuel ran to Eli and said, "Here I am. You called me."
"I did not call you," Eli said. "Go back to sleep."
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
"Here I am," he said. "You called me."
But Eli answered, "I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep."
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, "Here I am.
You called me."
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So Eli said to Samuel, "Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'"
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, "Samuel, Samuel!"
Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening." 
1 Sm 3:1-10.

This text is today's First Reading, and it has a special meaning for this blog page. VOICES began under the inspiration of this passage of scripture. VOICES is all about prayer, and supporting those who wish to make prayer a major part of their lives.

One might be inclined to think of prayer as getting the right words together to address to God. Actually, prayer starts with learning to listen to the words God is speaking to us. Samuel is about to learn how to pray, and his mentor and teacher, Eli, starts him off with lesson no. 1 - listening.

We might not expect to receive an audible locution from God, but to take up the Sacred Scripture in prayer and listen to its words speak to us, is near the same. VOICES has directed its efforts on learning to pray the scriptures; first on the scripture found in the Sacred Liturgy, then as taught by the Church's great masters of prayer.

There is a very worrisome trend developing today in the matter of religion and  spirituality. This trend wants to separate spirituality from religion, and take it down an independent path; often adding voices that are not of the Lord, the consequence of which will cause serious harm to those seeking to learn to prayer.

It was in God's sanctuary that Samuel learns to listen in prayer for God's Voice. It is in the sanctuary of the Church that VOICES seeks to do the same.

Bishop Robert Barron focused on this trend to separate religion and spirituality in a recent homily he gave. Here is the [ . . . LINK . . . ]


Saturday, 6 January 2018

Magi - Searching For Jesus Today

There is an expression often heard today: “Wise Men still seek him.” Today’s feast of the Epiphany (manifestation) comes to us from Matthew’s gospel. These key figures, “the Wise Men”, (their number not mentioned) are believed to be practitioners and thinkers of an Eastern religion which employed astrology as part of its belief system.

They were also familiar with he Jewish prophetic tradition, specifically that prophecy that predicted that a great king would rise up in Israel. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days.”  (Micah 5:2)

An astrological configuration appeared in the heavens which they interpreted to be a sign that it was about to happen. So, they set out in search of this great king who is the fulfillment of this prophesy.

Only Matthew includes these events in his gospel account. Over the years, many things have been added to Matthew’s story; things which are meant to enrich the story we have today.

I believe the term “Wise”, has a lot of meaning for our present age. It suggests to us what our generation is missing, and what it needs to search for – Wisdom. I recently heard an interview with an astrophysicist who was reinforcing the importance to this branch of science; how it will help us to one day understand who we are, where we came from, why we are here. Let us hope that this generation will ultimately discover Him, whom the Wise Men discovered, and find the answers they are seeking.

On the side panel, listed as [ Labels - Links to These Subjects ] you will find a handy link to previous post on the subject of the Epiphany.


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