1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20 John 1:35-42
I am a firm believer in the adage that says "What we know depends on where we stand.“ And it seems to me that a helpful corollary to that statement might be, “We can learn a lot from listening to others who stand in a different place. “ I see that wisdom given flesh in Pope Francis’s emphasis on a synodal church and in today's first reading and gospel.
In the first reading, the boy Samuel hears a call in the night three times and misinterprets it as a call from his mentor, the priest, Eli. Because Eli has more experience listening to the Lord, he is able to give Samuel the benefit of his experience and tell the boy to respond, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening,“ when he next hears the call.
In the gospel we first find Andrew and another disciple following John the Baptist. They are his disciples. Yet, when John wisely points out Jesus to them as the Lamb of God, they leave John and go to follow Jesus. John has seen something his disciples have missed with their focus on him.
And again in the gospel we see another example. After spending some time in the company of Jesus, Andrew now sees something more. He goes to his brother, Simon Peter, and announces, “We have found the Messiah. "
Over and over again in life we find it valuable to tap into the wisdom of others who have walked the walk we are just beginning. Folks new on the job, or first time parents, all realize there are things they do not see because of their own limited experience. They know they can benefit from the wisdom of others.
Such is the value of Christian community. In a faith-sharing group, specifically created to grapple with spiritual issues, or in a ministry dedicated to serving the marginalized, we have the opportunity to share with others the wisdom we have gleaned from our relationship with the Lord and to grow from listening to the experience of others. Most religious communities also offer the opportunity for lay people, men and women, to share in the ministry of the vowed members of the community, to grow from the insights gleaned by others in their spiritual journey. My own participation as an Associate of the Dominican Sisters of Peace has been one such experience for me.
Our unique experience, where we stand, gives each of us wisdom to share …but also limits. Listening to each other and sharing our journey with each other we can all grow.
by: Pat Schnee