Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
1st Reading: 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19
Responsorial: Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-103
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20
Gospel: John 1:35-42
The Importance of Learning to hear God’s voice and Saying Yes to Him
Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am.” (1 Samuel 3:5)
Learning to hear God’s voice isn’t always easy. Just ask Samuel. But this story has three pieces of encouraging news for all of us.
First, it’s okay to struggle and get it wrong. Samuel occasionally missed God’s voice as well, even years after this event (1 Samuel 16:7). We’re all still learning how to tune into the Spirit.
Second, God was very patient with Samuel, even when he didn’t catch on immediately. The Lord is patient with us too. He keeps sending messages our way, even though he knows we will likely miss some of them in the commotion of life.
Finally, the last bit of news might come as a surprise. You’re probably hearing from the Lord already; you just may not realize it yet.
Here’s something to consider: why did Samuel run to Eli when God called him? Perhaps God’s voice sounded more “natural” than he presumed, so he looked for a natural source. Imagine how thrilled Samuel must have been to discover that it was God calling him all along.
The same is true for us. God doesn’t usually speak to us with an audible voice. Rather, he often chooses natural means, including our consciences and our imaginations. Sometimes our thoughts and feelings—even mental images we see—have their source in God.
Keep that in mind as you go to Mass today. If you feel your heart being moved—even if it’s by only one phrase from the homily—don’t chalk it up to your own emotion. Take note. It could be the Spirit stirring within you. If a thought flashes across your mind like “That person seems anxious,” it could be that the Lord is asking you to comfort them. Likewise, if the name of a coworker pops into your mind during the prayers of the faithful, you might take that as a cue to pray for them.
As you keep leaning into him, trust that the Lord will give you ears to hear his voice.
“Lord, I’m honored that you speak to me. Help me to tune into what you’re saying.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. In the first reading, we read of the initial difficulty the prophet Samuel had in recognizing the Lord’s call to him. This difficulty is explained with these words: “At that time Samuel was not familiar with the Lord, because the Lord had not revealed anything to him as yet.” However, through words of encouragement to him by Eli the priest, he was able to say to the Lord, “Speak, for your servant is listening”–and the Lord began to reveal himself to Samuel.
- How would you describe the role Eli played in helping Samuel recognize that it was the Lord calling him?
- How would you describe some of the ways the Lord has revealed himself to you?
- In your times of prayer and reflection, have you ever said to the Lord something similar to “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening”? If you did what happened — and if you haven’t, what do you think would happen?
2. The responsorial psalm calls us to humbly turn to the Lord with these words, “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.” The psalmist expresses this even further with these words: “to do your will, O my God, is my delight.”
- What do these words mean to you?
- What part does doing the Lord’s will play in how you live your own life? Is it your “delight”?
- What are some steps you can take to be more in tune with the Lord’s will for your life?
3. The second reading challenges us with these words: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him. Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.”
- What do you think it means that “your bodies are members of Christ” and “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you”?
- What do you think it means to “glorify God in your body” and what are some ways you can do this?
- As a “temple of the Holy Spirit,” what role does the Holy Spirit (“within you”) play to enable you to “glorify God in your body”? What can you do to give him a bigger role?
4. The Gospel reading begins with these words: “John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.” It goes on to say that “Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ — which is translated Christ —. Then he brought him to Jesus.”
- In what way was John the Baptist instrumental in bringing Andrew to Jesus, and in what way was Peter helped by Andrew in bringing him to the Lord and in recognizing the call of the Lord for his life (as was Samuel by Eli in the first reading)?
- In what ways has God used others to help you in knowing the Lord more deeply and discerning his will for your life?
- Do you believe that Jesus wants to open your heart to experience his love more deeply, so that you too will be compelled, like Andrew in the Gospel reading, to tell others about the Lord and to help in bringing them to him? Why or why not?
5. The meditation is a reflection on the first reading, and describes some of the ways God can speak to us: “God doesn’t usually speak to us with an audible voice. Rather, he often chooses natural means, including our consciences and our imaginations. Sometimes our thoughts and feelings—even mental images we see—have their source in God.” It ends with these words: “As you keep leaning into him, trust that the Lord will give you ears to hear his voice.”
- How would you describe the ways in which your heavenly Father, or the Lord Jesus, has “spoken” to you?
- What are some additional steps you can take to “keep leaning into him” and “trust that the Lord will give you ears to hear his voice”?