We now begin what the Church calls "Ordinary Time." Christmas season is over, and we begin to see Jesus at work. We begin with a significant story, found in the First Reading for Sunday. A young man named Samuel is sleeping in the temple, as he was allowed to do. He wakes up instantly when he hears his name spoken out loud. He cries out, “Here I am!” and runs to his master, Eli, who is sleeping in another place in the temple. “You called me, what do you want?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli rasps. “Go back to sleep.” But the same thing happened again. Samuel runs to Eli, with the same result. On the third time, the old man at last understands. Wisely, he says “Samuel if this happens again, say these words: ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel goes back to sleep. He hears his name called again, "Samuel, Samuel"! Following instructions he says, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening!" God speaks, and Samuel grows up accompanied by the Lord's presence. God calls us by our name. We need to learn to identify his voice among other voices. He knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He knows our deeper desires, what we need and that is why He calls us to himself. May this New Year help us to listen to the voice of God and follow Him.
Fr. Alex Ureña