The first reading for Sunday is from 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19. It is the story of Samuel being called to be a prophet. Eli the priest and the young man Samuel are asleep in the temple. Three times Samuel thinks Eli is calling him. Each time he goes to Eli he is told to go back to sleep until Eli realizes that God is calling Samuel. Eli tells Samuel that the next time he is called to answer, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” God does call Samuel and tells him he is to be a prophet, a prophet who will eventually anoint the first two kings of Israel – Saul and David. Samuel says yes.
In the gospel reading from John 1:35-42, two of John the Baptist’s disciples see Jesus and begin to follow him. One of them is Andrew who tells his brother Simon that he has found the Messiah. “He brings Simon to Jesus, who looks at him and says, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas.’ (which is translated Peter).” Both men say yes and answer his invitation to become his first followers.
In the reading from 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20, we are reminded that our bodies are members of Christ and should be used accordingly. Paul goes on to say, “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own. For you were bought with a great price; therefore glorify God in your body.”
One word stands out without actually being printed in the readings. That word is YES. Samuel heard God’s call to be a prophet and he said yes. Andrew and Peter heard Jesus’ invitation to follow him and both said yes. You and I are called to be followers of the Christ. Are we brave enough to say yes? I say brave enough because it is not easy to be a faith filled follower of Christ. To live as a committed Christian is not easy or popular in our present day culture. We are bombarded with materialism, racism, homophobia, divisive beliefs and speech, sexual promiscuity, and now a pandemic that tests the generosity and compassion of many. Choosing to say yes to our invitation to be a follower of Christ takes immense faith and a willingness to act and speak in ways that are very counter-cultural.
Paul reminds us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Any selfish act, any sinful thought, and vicious word or action are an affront to the Spirit within us. Rather, our thoughts, words and actions should glorify God in our body. Again, this is not easy and we are not always successful in living our yes. It takes courage and faith to begin again, and again, and again. As we prepare for the Sunday liturgy, let’s reflect on our yes and how we live it!
In what ways do you feel called to be a follower of Christ?
What helps you to say yes or what blocks you from saying yes?