From the desk of Fr Stephen
St. Clement Hoffbauer, a Redemptorist saint, once said, “It is better to bring the sinner to Jesus than Jesus to the sinner.” That quote may take a little bit of reflection to understand what St. Clement is talking about frankly, but I think this statement is true. When we bring Jesus to the sinner, it often means preaching to people, which can be effective, but sometimes people get tired of hearing it. Whereas, if we bring people to Jesus, we can let him do the preaching. After all, he is much more qualified to do the preaching than we are. He has a lot to say to us.
In our Gospel today, Andrew has heard Jesus’ message. He is inspired by it. Jesus’ words have impacted Andrew, and he wants to make sure his brother, Peter, also hears these words. After Andrew hears Jesus’ message, he goes off to find his brother. “Come and see the man who has so much to say to us. I believe he is the one the prophets of old have talked about. Come and listen to him.” Peter does come and listen and he, too, is enamored by what Jesus has to say. Both Andrew and Peter leave their life as fishermen and spend the next three years listening to everything Jesus has to say.
It’s as simple as that really. Hearing the WORD of God, being inspired by this same word, and then finding someone else who has not heard the word and bringing them to Jesus so that they might also hear that WORD. That is what evangelization is all about; spreading this WORD of God—not being afraid to speak in Jesus’ name.
In the first reading, Samuel hears the WORD of God. He has been placed in the hands of Eli as a young boy. He has not heard this WORD before until late one night when he hears his name being called. “Who is calling my name?” he asks. He figures it is Eli, and so he goes to him. He hears this voice three different times, and three different times he goes to Eli, but Eli is not calling him. Finally, it is the old man himself that realizes that God is calling on the boy. And so finally, Samuel can say, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.”
So often, we can hear God calling our name but do not respond. We can be like the young boy Samuel and not recognize God’s voice, but the more we listen, the better we can hear. Samuel heard God’s voice, and with Eli’s help, Samuel was able to say to God, “I am here, God. Speak to me, for I am listening.” Andrew heard the voice of Jesus and followed that voice, but he did not stop there. He wanted his brother Peter to also hear God’s voice, and so he brings Peter to Jesus. Might God want us to do the same? Who is it today that God wants you to bring to Jesus? When you hear God’s voice calling you, answer that call and say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”