1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19; John 1: 35-42
Now I have to preface this homily by saying that this sounded much better in my head a few days ago than it does this Sunday morning…but how about that Tim Tebow? See, now you know it sounded better until he ran into the Patriots last evening! Anyway, I happened to catch a story on CNN this week where they were talking about Tim Tebow and why this fascination with him. One person had said because he’s good looking, another that it was because he cries on camera (not sure what that has to do with football), and then the last person seemed to make the most sense. He said, “It’s because everyone has told him that he can’t.” I’m like, that’s it! Everyone has told him that he can’t do this, he won’t succeed; every expert out there say no way, and yet, he has. He has been able to block out all those negative voices that say you can’t, won’t, don’t, never, etc, and follow the higher call to do the impossible. He has been able to do the impossible by listening to that greater voice.
The same is true for young Samuel in today’s first reading. He’s new at all of this and doesn’t quite understand what this voice is and who it is that is calling him. He goes back and forth with Eli trying to make sense out of all of this, and after three times, it finally begins to click that this is a greater voice that is calling out. What Samuel doesn’t know is that when he finally responds to it, God will also ask the impossible of him. He is going to have to confront Eli and his house for their immorality and their unjust lifestyle and God is upset with all of it. Samuel, in responding to the call, this higher voice, will confront the impossible. You have to believe, and we know for sure if you continue to read this passage, that he begins to doubt, the negative voices start to take over, he questions, and like us, will need to discern all these voices and respond openly to the voice of God speaking and the gift to be able to do the impossible.
Same thing for the disciples as they are first called. Today’s reading from John is a little different than the “call” readings we are used to. Typically we are used to hearing about the fishermen out in the boats and dropping everything to follow Jesus. There is more of a curiosity in today’s gospel from John. You see, Andrew and his brother are devout followers of John the Baptist which we hear at the first part of this reading. They too will need to begin to discern where it is that they are being called. Jesus doesn’t tell them to just drop everything to follow, he rather simply says, come and see; come and see what I am all about; come and see what this is all about. It won’t be long until the negative voices start to take hold of them as well, though, when they come to a realization of the impossible task that Jesus calls them to. This call will take them right into Jerusalem and the Cross and the voice of God will seemed drowned out by all the negativity, but discernment will happen and they will follow him to the impossible.
The same is true for each of us, as disciples of Jesus. We really are no different than Samuel, that Andrew and Peter, or even Tim Tebow for that matter, in that we too sometimes need to discern all these voices that vie for our attention. Unfortunately, it often seems like the negative ones are the loudest in our lives, and yet, if we find the quiet, we will begin to hear the greater voice and the higher calling of our God to even do the impossible in our lives and world.