“God is good! … All the time! All the time! …God is good!”
Let us examine these selected scripture verses for our instruction and inspiration that focus on God’s call – and our proper response.
From the time of Adam and Eve, down through the ages the Scriptures are filled with radical calls: the Samaritan woman, Moses, Jonah, Martha and Mary, Zacchaeus, Samuel, to name just a few. Today in this New Year God is calling you. Are you listening?
God’s ways are surely wonderful! He could govern and regulate this world and all its inhabitants most correctly and successfully all by himself. However, he has decided to give man a chance of co-operating with him in the running of the material and spiritual affairs of his world. Perhaps they are more often a hindrance rather than a help to the Lord. Yet, he not only allows them but he calls them, selects them for various roles in the government of his world.
This is true in the running of the temporal affairs as well as the government of the spiritual life of men on earth. The exercise of power over a nation or community of people is not from man but from God, thus the obligation on subjects to obey the just laws of their rulers. God it is who delegates his authority to earthly rulers.
During the first eight hundred years of God’s dealings with his Chosen People, both the temporal and spiritual leadership of the people always resided in one and the same individual. The Patriarchs, Moses, Joshua, the Judges down to the appointment of kings (1030 B.C.), were individually called by God to administer both the temporal and spiritual affairs of the community. Today’s lesson tells us how Samuel the prophet got his call to fulfill this double task of temporal and spiritual leadership of God’s people. Because God was with him in all his doings he carried it out very successfully for about twenty years.
All men and women have a vocation – a call – from God in this life. Each individual has duties to perform which, if faithfully carried out, will earn for them the place God has planned for them in the eternal kingdom. A few are called to be the leaders of their fellowman. The vast majority of us are called to follow our leaders by loyally obeying the laws enacted for their just government. Each one of us has a call from God, a part to play in the temporal and spiritual affairs of this life. The future status of each one of us will be determined by the manner in which we carried out our role – responded to the call on earth.
Samuel didn’t have the faintest idea that it was God who was speaking to him when he first got his call, his vocation, in the shrine at Shiloh. But when he eventually realized the truth (thanks to Eli’s wise counsel) he immediately offered his humble service to the Lord, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
How few of us have seen or heard a call from God, a divine vocation, in the humdrum activities of our daily lives, and yet these ordinary daily tasks are the road to heaven that God has mapped out for us. These are the “vocations” he has given us. We may say that we ourselves chose our careers in life, we decided what occupation we should follow, but behind our free decisions the wise providence of God, working through parents, neighbors, circumstances of time and place, has so arranged our earthly journey that it would end for us in heaven. Many of us grumble at our role in life. We think our lot is so inferior and demanding when compared with the life others lead, and even go so far as to say that God could have no part in such a bad arrangement. Yet, God is in charge of his world. He chooses each individual for the role he is to carry to its successful conclusion. And let’s not forget that although we may have responded to God’s call to our specific “vocation” in life, above all we are called to be Holy. We are called to be Evangelizers!
“There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them as we will,” Shakespeare tells us. God has a master plan for the human race and to each one of us he has given a little niche in that plan. If we play the part he has given us, though it be noble or humble in the eyes of this world, we will make a success of God’s master-plan, of this great human drama. Our own eternal success will be assured. With Samuel today, let us accept our vocation and humbly submit ourselves to his divine will: “Speak Lord for thy servant is listening”.
Deacon John Rangel
CMCS Archives January 15, 2012
Photo: Copyright Frank J Casella All Rights Reserved.