January 14, 2018 – 2nd, (Year B)
●● 1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19 ●● Psalm 40 ●● 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20 ●● John 1:35-42 ●●
[__01__] At the beginning of this year of 2018, in chapter 1 of the Gospel of John, a question is introduced, by Jesus our Savior, to interested parties, inquiring minds and disciples: “what are you looking for?” (John 1:38)
Direct, simple, and a logical place to start. “What are you looking for?”
[__02__] Responding to this question on a search engine – or SIRI, Google, we receive ►choices, ► maps ►directions ► reviews by customers. ► emoji, stars … et cetera, et cetera.
With such electronic guidance, we can gather information – sometimes an overwhelming amount of information – before making a decision.
[__03__] In the Book of Samuel, we read about a beginning, an initiation. This book is – partly – the autobiography of Samuel. How did he come to be a prophet?
Recently, I read this definition of an autobiography, by the Harvard Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz. Of course, he would define this with a legal metaphor, as an attorney. Professor Dershowitz writes that an autobiographer’s task is similar to that of a witness on the witness stand: tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
[__04__] God – as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is asking us to tell the truth. And, Samuel at this moment admits that he does not know – but wants to know – who is calling him.
Samuel – the first of all the prophets to the kings of Israel is young at the time prophet -- he knows not why or by whom he is being awoken in the middle of the night.
So, he goes to his mentor, Eli. Samuel thinks Eli is messaging him or alerting him.
[__05__] What are you looking for ? I can think of instances where – in a moment of perplexity or uncertainty – I have sought out the answer or the approval of someone.
Sometimes, we even do this with our loved ones, our parents, a spouse, a relative.
What am I looking for? Sometimes, it is your approval … regardless of what the truth of “right” course of action might be.
[__06__] What are you looking for? What Samuel seeks, first, is Eli’s direction, guidance. And, truly we often start – or have to start - with the direction or guidance of a teacher, of a colleague, of a friend, of “my mother” … “my mother.”
Samuel starts with his mentor. But, he does not end there.
Eli is sending him to God.
And, we are called to do the same – to bring before God what we think is important, to be in conversation and relationship with Him each day.
[__07__] Several years ago, I traveled to Los Angeles to visit my brother. I was not staying at the Hotel California but at their home. I was trying to enjoy myself, enjoy them, while also respecting their family schedule. We did not spend every waking moment together. I had a rental car.
One afternoon, I returned home to tell them that I went for a walk near the Angeles National Forest, where I had been, what I had seen. And, while relating this, I was asked, “You will really do anything to get away from, won’t you?”
[__08__] What are you looking for? Jesus is asking us to tell the truth.
I think my brother and his family were also asking for the truth … but in this situation I do what many of us do when we are trying to avoid …I smiled. That was honest, sort of. I was concerned that my answer might be recorded for quality purposes.
Obviously they were looking for me to spend time with them. God is also seeking – and searching for you and for me, not only to gather data on our whereabouts, but to know our hearts. And, he asks us to visit, to come and see.
[__09__] What are you looking for?
If we are looking for God, then we are also looking for love, for God is love.
John the Baptist teaches us that true love – in the terms of Jesus – is a gift, a gift to be shared, it involves sacrifice, and may invite us to change our ways.
Was this what I was looking for ? Perhaps, it was not my first search criteria…what I first typed into the phone.John the Baptist reminds us to put this love first, to behold the Lamb of God, WHO we are looking for. [__fin__]