In Eli’s day, when Samuel was young and serving him in the temple, we are told that “…a revelation of the Lord was uncommon and vision infrequent.” As I read this this morning, it feels and sounds all too familiar. We can often feel, as the Jews did on so many occasions, that the Lord has stepped away, turned his ear away from us. We know, in faith, that the Lord never abandons us, but there are times when we feel as though we are alone, and that our prayers are met with silence

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Eli must have felt that way. He was old, he had gone almost blind, and he was being served by the young Samuel who helped him in the Temple services. We are told that Samuel was not “familiar with the Lord, because the Lord had not revealed anything to him yet.” That word, “familiar” is striking here. To be familiar is to know a person at his or her depths. It is to know that person’s story and more. It is to know the other’s heart and be drawn to it.

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God speaks to Samuel, awakening him from his sleep and it is his instant response to go to his master to serve him, to offer him his time and his care. His response is, “Here I am. You called me. The young Samuel has already proved his willingness to serve. The Lord speaks to him two more times, and without hesitation, he goes to Eli ready to serve. Eli, of course, had not called him. And even he does not pick up on the que that it was the Lord who was calling Samuel, until the third time. The Lord had not turned his face away, he had not abandoned him or the people. He was merely waiting for the one he would call on to be ready.

Though it may seem as though revelations from God are rare in our times and visions are suspect to those who consider themselves wiser and more scientifically based, the fact is that God is calling us to be his likeness, to bring his presence into the often bored, empty, despairing spaces of our day.

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The real question, then, is are we, like Samuel, ready to hear and answer God’s call to us today? Do we have the maturity of faith to answer immediately, without doubt, without question? Are we familiar enough and willing enough to say to God, “Here I am, Lord. You called me?” Are we ready to take up his call, his commission, and to be his voice to our families, our friends, our neighbors, and even those we do not know?. It will not be easy. Indeed, you will find it difficult, even painful at times, but he has promised to be with us in all things, even to the end of the age. Let us pray to our generous and loving God for the graces we need to do his will in our daily lives..

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