1 Samuel 3:1-10. 19-20
Mark 1:29-39


A dear friend of mine once gave a sermon on this Gospel passage. He mused that Simon’s mother-in-law didn’t necessarily have a fever but was simply exhausted from relentless housework and cooking, and sick and tired of receiving little thanks or praise for her efforts. The idea has always stuck with me. Perhaps all Jesus did was walk in, sit with her a little while, acknowledge her as a person, and give her his time. Perhaps all he did was listen. Of course, it’s hard not to notice that Simon’s mother-in-law immediately “began to wait on them” (Mark 1:31), yet, her load was lighter now. Acknowledged and respected as a human being, her desire to serve had been renewed.

Samuel learns how to listen in our first reading. At first, he is so preoccupied with Eli that every time Samuel hears his name, he jumps up and runs to Eli’s side. Eli’s eyes may have grown dim but he understands that the boy must be hearing the voice of the Lord and commands him to lie down. When the Lord calls his name, he must reply that he is listening. We are asked to do the same. The psalmist cries, “You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings, but an open ear. You do not ask for holocaust and victim. Instead, here am I” (Ps. 39:6). When we hear the voice of God, let us have the strength to get up once again, to be renewed in our love of God and neighbor, to serve with tenderness and affection. When God calls, may we have the courage to reply, ‘Here I am.’

Angela Marquis works for the Hobart Passionists at St Joseph’s in Tasmania, with WATAC (Women and the Australian Church), and as a primary school chaplain.