Video version: https://youtu.be/4F0WGKqvOOI
I remember the words of my spiritual director from decades ago. ‘God is calling every young man and women for the sanctity of life. Every young person, at a stage of their lives, hears the call to the priesthood, or to dedicate themselves to God alone (like in religious life).’ This call can vanish, it can remain unanswered. Today’s readings are about this call. They invite us to revisit this voice in us. “‘Samuel, Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” (1 Samuel 3:10)
The loving Father invites everyone to be part of the Kingdom of God. All of us have a role, a very unique contribution that no one else can do. Every baptised person is like an ‘embassy’. Where we live our task is to transform that spot into the Kingdom of God and order it and fill it up with its life.
But happens to this call? What happens to this voice in us? Why is it fading away, as abandoned churches, places of worship sold out and converted into pubs are echoing this question. Our second reading, Paul’s letter (1 Corinthians 6:13-15), in a very straightforward way, helps to answer this question. ‘Keep away from fornication!’ - the apostle says. Our call to love God and our neighbour, our vision of how we should live with Christ, the desire to be with Him in prayer and compassion can be gradually erased from our heart. Personal and collective sins, it is only matter of time, will lead to this erasure.
So when we read cheerfully the enthusiastic question of the first disciples - we should do it with a desire to repent. ‘Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, “What do you want?” They answered, “Rabbi where do you live?” “Come and see” he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day.’ (John 1:37-39) Other translations say, ‘Come and you will see!’
Let us rejoice in these words today. For we have found in them the very source of our Baptismal vows. Let us ‘unbury’ and clearly see those things which dulled and tarnished our active role in the Kingdom of God. Let us repent; that is the importance of confessing one’s sins and do it aright.
When we rejoice with the first disciples that ‘we have found the Messiah’ of our soul something important happens. First, we realise that we are called to be different set apart from the bad practices of the world: idolatry, prostitution (or fornication), and warfare. But on a personal level, we realise and admit our own addictions, as all of us are addicted to something. When we say that ‘we have found the Messiah’, we can rejoice over the fact that part of our being Christians is being healed from our addictions. Let us celebrate with Andrew and Peter, that the church is the place where we gain our ultimate freedom.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..