2nd Sunday - First Reading: First Samuel 3:3-10, 19

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2nd Sunday - First Reading: First Samuel 3:3-10, 19

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1 Samuel 3:1-10,19:

1 Samuel 3:1-10,19 The Lord calls young Samuel in the night: “Speak, for your servant hears.”

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1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. 2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim, so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place; 3 the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down within the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” The Holy Bible : Revised Standard Version Second Catholic edition (2006), with the ecclesiastical approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Thomas Nelson Publishing for Ignatius Press. The English translations of the works of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) who also uses the RSV-CE or its Second Edition.

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7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 And the Lord came and stood forth, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. The Holy Bible : Revised Standard Version Second Catholic edition (2006), with the ecclesiastical approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Thomas Nelson Publishing for Ignatius Press. The English translations of the works of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) who also uses the RSV-CE or its Second Edition.

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God allows everyone to participate in his plan without regard to age, sex or national origin. Eli was a priest, he was older and in some ways wiser than Samuel but no, God’s mission for Samuel was special. Eli threw himself into God’s work and neglected his family. As a result his sons would not be allowed to follow their father as high priest (1 Sam. 2:22-33). Eli like so many other parents try to “help” their children out of trouble by paying fines or lying to the police. A wise parent recognizes there is a time to release your child to the consequences of their sins. Eli went against God’s direction and thus enabled his sons to continue their bad behaviors, it was now a time for change in leadership and Samuel would be the instrument of that change.

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When narcotic detectives raided an apartment in a depressed neighborhood in New York City. The dark halls and dingy rooms were crowded with twisted, ill-fed, and ill-clothed derelicts. Out of this human scrap heap, the police arrested six men for carrying hypodermic needles and heroin. The renter of the apartment, was charged with harboring drug addicts. At police headquarters, the meek-looking and mild-mannered man claimed that he had chosen to live among these people to provide them with food, shelter, and clothing. His door was open to all. He did not realize he was breaking the law by extending compassion to drug users. The investigation revealed that the operator of this strange hostel was neither a vagrant nor a drug user.

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The dedicated man turned out to be John Sergeant Cram, a millionaire, who had been educated at Princeton and Oxford. To avoid the “rigmarole” of organized charity, he had moved into the undesirable neighborhood and had gone to work helping the less fortunate. After his trial and acquittal, Cram was admonished not to take in drug addicts. Later he said to a reporter, “I do not know if my work does any good, but I don’t think it does any harm.… I’m quite happy, you know. I am anything but a pessimistic person. Call me eccentric. Call it my reason for being. I have no other!” John was answering God’s call to help the less fortunate. It is a sad commentary on our society that the courts basically told him he couldn’t help all who came to him.

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In the court’s opinion addicts were undeserving of a compassionate hand. Samuel, just like John, were willing to reach out to others even if it hurt their social image and brought them real hardship. Samuel was the first of prophets to speak of Israel’s failure to live up to its covenant with God. As you might imagine his comments were not well received. We should follow Samuel’s sentiments, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” John Sergeant Cram

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