Summary: The subtle theology of revelation that comes from listening to God.
Jed Harris, producer of Our Town and other plays, became convinced he was losing his hearing.
He went to a specialist, who gave him a thorough checkup. The doctor pulled out a gold watch and asked, “Can you hear this ticking?” Harris said, “Of course.”
The specialist walked to the door and held up the watch again. “Now can you hear it”? Harris concentrated and said, “Yes, I can hear it clearly.”
The doctor walked out the door into the next room and said, “Can you hear it now?” Harris said, “Yes”.
The doctor said, “Mr. Harris, there is nothing wrong with your hearing. You’ve simply quit listening.”
There is a subtle theology of revelation in our Readings this Sunday that comes from listening to God.
Eli served as a priest at the Shiloh sanctuary, where the ark of the covenant was kept.
Samuel had been enrolled in the boarding school there and now he about 11 years old. He had been studying about God, the record indicates, but he did not yet know God: the Word of the Lord was not something he perceived or discerned, our First Reading tells us.
That is interesting because there could be many people, including us at times, who have studied about God, but are like novices at times when it comes to listening to God’s voice.
Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy and gives Samuel valuable counsel. So Eli shares his insight with Samuel and serves as mentor to him, which is powerful way to figure out what God is asking you.
A wise counselor advised, "respect the botherment" which means pay attention to what is bugging you, and discern what God is saying through this.
Another clue to listening to God stems from Samuel having grown up in Church.
In our Gospel today, two disciples ask Jesus, “Where are you staying?” The word literally means “abide,” and its the same word when Jesus says that the believer who remains or abides in him will enjoy the indwelling of Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus asks the two disciples, “What are you looking for?” The question is meant for everyone. What are you seeking in life? To make you happy and fulfilled?
The two disciples received their vocational fulfillment, “it was about four in the afternoon,” our Gospel today says. They would never forget that moment. Simon even receives a new name to mark the occasion, Cephas or the Rock.
The first recorded act of Abraham in Genesis 12 is to hear the voice of God: “The Lord said to Abram: Go forth from your land, your relatives, and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).
“Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will,” is a great prayer.
The results will be good for us.
E.g The 19th verse of the chapter from our First Reading says, “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.”
There is connection between effectiveness in life and listening to the will of God.
2). Samuel begins with a natural misunderstanding, confusing the voice of God with the voice of Eli, not once but three times.
When are the words of other disciples, particularly leaders, the words of God? When do we hear God but think we hear someone else? When do we think someone’s words are the words of God when they are not? This experience of Samuel, which lasts for one night, can be offered as a paradigm for us: over and over, we move from misunderstanding to readiness to respond.
There is no doubt that having a solid understanding of the basics of the faith is important because sound doctrine and adhering to sound moral teaching can help sort out competing voices.
The Catechism in 1706 says, “By this reason, man recognizes the voice of God which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil." Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbor.”
You’ll know that you are hearing God when it’s verified in the sense of a quote I Iike, that “The essence of verification is the convergence of multiple lines of reasoning at a singular point.”
Hearing God’s voice requires silence. It’s interesting that Samuel was “lying down” or resting when he heard from the Lord. He was in a state where his surroundings were calm, peaceful.
Faith is our response to a word which engages us personally, to a “Thou” who calls us by name.
It is a call to “read” Scripture in such a way that we “hear” the words of God