Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will!
(Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 40)
1 Samuel 3:1-20 tells us how Samuel came to recognize the voice of the Lord and to know when God was speaking to him. This is what made him a prophet.
The reading begins: “It was rare for the Lord to speak in those days; visions were uncommon.” Many think this is true in our time. And we may identify with the description: “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.”
But the truth is, we do “know the Lord.” We just may not be aware of it. We know him with the divine knowledge that comes with the gift of faith. But we will not be conscious of knowing him until we translate this into human knowledge by reading and reflecting on the human character of Jesus as revealed in the Scriptures. When we express our thoughts about him—to ourselves or others—in human words, that is when we realize we know him. But it is really the voice of the Spirit in our hearts.1
And the “word of the Lord has been revealed to us.” We just hesitate to say we have divine enlightenment, even though we know that Jesus calls us the “light of the world.” He says that what makes his followers different is that they do not “walk in darkness but have the light of life.” It is us he is talking about. But if we do not keep ourselves aware that we have the light of light, we will not be attentive to walking in it. And we will fail to share our light with others as prophets.2
We don’t think of ourselves as prophets, even though at Baptism the Lord himself consecrated all of us prophets, priests and kings. We just never think about it.
The reading continues; “Samuel grew up and the Lord was with him…. And all Israel … came to know that Samuel was accredited as a prophet of the Lord.” The Lord is with us too. We proclaim it repeatedly at Mass. Dominus vobiscum is not just a wish: “The Lord be with you,” but also a statement of fact: “The Lord is with you.” When we grow up sufficiently in the faith to be constantly aware of this, everyone who knows us should recognize that we too are “prophets of the Lord.”
They will recognize it if our way of living, speaking and acting makes it obvious that the enduring refrain of our hearts is: Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will.
Mark 1:29-39: The morning after an evening spent curing the sick, Jesus “went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” When his disciples found him, he said, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” Jesus was aware of his identity and his mission.
Initiative: Know yourself as empowered by grace. Live as human and divine.
1 1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 8:15-16, 10:9.
2 Matthew 5:14; John 8:12.