Year B: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: 1 Samuel 3: 3-10, 19
Samuel was a child offered to God by his mother Hannah. Her desperation to have a child had led her to the Temple where her prayers were so distraught that people thought she was drunk. Eli told her that God had heard her prayer and that a child would be given to her - the child was Samuel.
When he was weaned, Hannah took him back to the Temple and offered him back to the Lord - singing a hymn of praise which resembles very closely the hymn of Mary - the Magnificat. It seems strange that such a longed-for child could be given up - but Hannah did not forget Samuel - each year she made and brought new clothes to him when she came to the Temple for the yearly sacrifice. Her personal sacrifice was rewarded in that she had five other children.
Samuel was given into the care of Eli whose own sons failed to live up to the responsibilities of priests. The whole faith of Israel was quiet - very few people heard the word of the Lord or had visions. Perhaps this was why it took Eli a while to work out what was happening to his young charge.
Samuel hears a voice calling his name - and assumes that Eli is calling him to perform some service. On the third occasion, Eli realises that it is God Himself who is speaking to the child - and tells him to listen.
God does call again - and Samuel does as Eli suggested - he tells God that he is awake and listening.
Because of his attentiveness to the word of God, the child grows into one of the most trusted and respected prophets in the Old Testament - not one word of his was lost, we are told.
What does it mean for me?
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