Saturday, January 13, 2018

2nd Ordinary Sunday, Year B, 14.01.2017

2nd Sunday OT B-2017                                                    14-01-18
1 Sam 3:3-10, 19 / 1 Cor 6:13-15, 17-20 / John 1:35-42
Between sight and sound, it is difficult to say which has a more appealing advantage.

Before the era of television, when radio ruled the airwaves, listening is understanding. But with television, seeing is believing.

Still, hearing is essential. Try to watch a movie without the audio, or with a lousy audio, and it can be very frustrating.

And it can be equally frustrating for a hearing-impaired or a deaf person. While a blind or visually-impaired person is easily noticeable, a deaf or hearing-impaired person looks as ordinary as the rest.

Hearing aids may be helpful but it depends on the situation and surroundings.

An elderly man had serious hearing problems for many years. Finally he went to see a doctor and then the doctor had him fitted with new hearing aids and told him to come back a month later.

A month passed and the elderly man went back to the doctor and the doctor asked about his hearing aid.

The elderly man said that it was working very well. And the doctor said, “Oh, your family must be happy that you can hear again.”

The elderly man replied, “Oh, I haven’t told them. I just sit around and listen to their conversations. And I have already changed my will three times. ”

Yes, be careful with what we say. Even walls have ears. And hearing aids can make a difference!

In the 1st reading, the young Samuel heard a voice and he thought it was Eli calling him. But after the third time, Eli understood that it was the voice of the Lord calling out to Samuel and he taught Samuel how to respond: Speak Lord, your servant is listening.

And with that Samuel became the prophet of God and the voice of the Lord was now heard through him.

In the gospel, there was the voice of another prophet – John the Baptist. He had this to say, “Look, there is the Lamb of God” as he pointed out Jesus to his disciples. 

Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

So the voice of the Lord as we heard in the 1st reading is calling out to us, and the voice of Jesus as we heard in the gospel is asking us, “What do you want?”

As we think about what Jesus is asking us, as we think about what we want, there is an article in the Catholic News about the 19 Catholic clergy and religious who were killed in Algeria between 1993 and 1996, during the armed conflict that devastated Algeria.

Among the 19 were seven French Trappist monks who were kidnapped from their monastery of Tibhirine and later killed by the extremist rebel groups.

Their story is made into a movie titled “Of Gods and Men” The monks of the Tibhirine monastery knew they were in danger, and would be killed if they remained in Algeria and they had a choice to leave the country. But they deliberated and debated among themselves, prayed and listened to the voice of the Lord, and they chose to stay.

Fr Christian de Cherge, the slain abbot of the monastery, had written in a letter nearly three years before his death that he and the other monks would willingly offer themselves as a sacrifice for the people of Algeria.

“When the time comes, I would like to be able to have that stroke of lucidity which would permit me to ask forgiveness of God and of my brothers in humanity, forgiving wholeheartedly, at the same time, whoever my killer may be,” he wrote, “May we meet each other again, happy thieves, in paradise, should it please God.”

Even though they lost their lives, their martyrdom teaches us something about listening to the voice of the Lord in the face of danger and death.

The title of the movie made about them “Of Gods and Men” is also rather enigmatic. It refers to a verse from Psalm 82 shown at the beginning of the film -“I said, ‘You are “gods”; and all of you, sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like men; you shall fall like any of the princes.”
The gods of this world with their shrilling voices are shouting at us, taunting us, with their power and might, and luring us to play into their games of hatred and violence.

These false gods claim to have powers of divinity by wielding weapons of violence and bloodshed. Their murderous voice stirs fear and confusion in us that tempt us to fight back with violence and hate.

But it is the voice of the true God that passes judgement on these false gods and those seven Trappist monks were the instruments of God’s judgement. 

By the gospel values of love and peace and forgiveness, by prayer and the Word of God, those monks listened to the voice of the true God and became His instruments of judgement as the mighty are cast down from their thrones and the lowly are raised.

Yes, we must listen to the voice of the one true God. As Jesus asks us what do we want, let us ask Jesus to grant us the faith to believe in His truth, that through prayer and perseverance, with love and forgiveness, we will overcome the power and might of those false gods and silence their taunts.

Like Samuel, let us say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” When the Lord speaks, we will know, because it is a voice that speaks of peace, it is a voice of love.