Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Samuel 3,1-10.19-20

Now, the boy Samuel was serving Yahweh in the presence of Eli; in those days it was rare for Yahweh to speak; visions were uncommon. One day, it happened that Eli was lying down in his room. His eyes were beginning to grow dim; he could no longer see. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying in Yahweh's sanctuary, where the ark of God was, when Yahweh called, 'Samuel! Samuel!' He answered, 'Here I am,' and, running to Eli, he said, 'Here I am, as you called me.' Eli said, 'I did not call. Go back and lie down.' So he went and lay down. And again Yahweh called, 'Samuel! Samuel!' He got up and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am, as you called me.' He replied, 'I did not call, my son; go back and lie down.' As yet, Samuel had no knowledge of Yahweh and the word of Yahweh had not yet been revealed to him. Again Yahweh called, the third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am, as you called me.' Eli then understood that Yahweh was calling the child, and he said to Samuel, 'Go and lie down, and if someone calls say, "Speak, Yahweh; for your servant is listening." ' So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Yahweh then came and stood by, calling as he had done before, 'Samuel! Samuel!' Samuel answered, 'Speak, Yahweh; for your servant is listening.' Samuel grew up. Yahweh was with him and did not let a single word fall to the ground of all that he had told him. All Israel knew, from Dan to Beersheba, that Samuel was attested as a prophet of Yahweh.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The passage opens by noting that Samuel "was ministering to the Lord under Eli." However, it adds quickly, "the word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread." It was a difficult moment for Israel. The rarity of prophecy meant the distance of the people from God and therefore the absence of a light to guide their way. Listening to these words we cannot but think of our days. Even today visions are rare and difficult are the dreams for a more human and just world. We live in a global world, but universal visions for the entire human family are lacking. The priest Eli, who should have had such visions, was aged in his blindness and lived secluded in his room. Samuel was still just a boy. However, "The lamp of God had not yet gone out." The Lord was still watching over His people. His love indeed is far greater than that of His children. And, look, while Samuel is sleeping the Lord calls him. Three times Samuel hears God's call and each time he runs to Eli. The third time, the priest tells Samuel what to do. It is true that Samuel has been living for years in the sanctuary, having direct contact with the high priest, but he does not know the Lord yet. Indeed, one can learn many things about God, but still not have any personal relationship with Him. Samuel heard God's voice calling him three times and helped by the old Eli finally answered: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." He then received God's revelation. From that moment, the Word of God was no longer scarce. Rather, through him, the Word became a force of change. The note of the sacred author is very meaningful: "Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground." This exhortation is to each of us so that we grow like Samuel, that is having the Lord at our side and may not letting any words received from the Lord fall to the ground. The Lord entrusts each of us with the strength of his Word so that it may be effective.