Homily

What would you think about being "Haunted by God" such that you could carry all your possessions in a shopping bag. Now, myself, I could probably do it with my car fully packed and a large U-Haul trailer behind. But there was such a woman, named Dorothy Day who died in 1980.

She and Peter Maurin began the Catholic Worker Movement to promote Social Justice and Pacifism. I'm not sure that she or Peter Maurin knew what they were getting into, namely a life of following the poverty of Jesus. The Catholic Worker Movement is still alive with well over 100 "Houses of Hospitality" to care for the homeless and the destitute. These are staffed by persons in the Catholic Worker Movement, some for a short time, others for a lifetime.

Her message is still published in the "Catholic Worker" newspaper, which still sells for 1 cent, the same price as in the beginning.

My wife, Barbara, did have a great view of Dorothy Day and her message. When Dorothy Day came to Milwaukee, she would stay at the house of Barbara's parents, who were early Christian Workers. And, yes, she did come with her possessions in a shopping bag.

The theme of the First Reading from the Book of Samuel and of the Gospel of John deal with the "haunting call by God" of people who did not know what they were getting into.

How would you like to be like Samuel, who was a student of Eli, a Prophet and one of the "Judges" to guide the Israelites. Samuel was awakened three times one night by a call. He went three times to his teacher, Eli, who told him that he hadn't called him and to "go back to sleep". It was only after the third call that Eli realized that the "call" might be from God. So he told Samuel to "go back to sleep"; but if Samuel were to hear another call, he was to answer "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening".

And guess what? The fourth call came, something Samuel probably didn't want after he heard what the call was telling him to do. Samuel answered "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening". Samuel was to tell Eli that God was going to punish him. Eli didn't stop his two sons from sleeping with women at the entrance to the temple (probably temple prostitutes) and from demanding meat from temple sacrifices which was to be reserved for the priests according to Jewish Law.

Then Samuel began his "almost unwanted life" as the last of the Judges trying to lead the Jewish people. The Jewish people were demanding a king "like the other nations". Samuel believed that Israel had only one King, GOD. He warned the Israelites that kings were going to get them into a lot of trouble. But after a time GOD gave in to their demands. Samuel then anointed Saul to be the first king of Israel. In short, because Samuel answered God's call he got into many troubles with the Jewish people and then "reluctantly" had to anoint Saul as the first king of Israel. He probably wished he had stayed asleep.

The Gospel of John (as well as those of Matthew, Mark and Luke) is about the calling of the Apostles. John starts with Andrew, then Simon Peter, then James and John. Ultimately the full number of twelve is reached. These twelve could not have any idea of what following the Carpenter of Nazareth who lived a life of poverty would lead to. Then after the Resurrection they were sent out to preach that Jesus was the Son of God who suffered, died on a cross, rose to life again, ascended to be with His Father and will come again. If interviewed on TV today, each and every one of them would say: "I never thought it would be like this".

And so it is with all of us, as it was with Samuel and with the twelve Apostles, we each have been called in Baptism to a new life. But what we have been called to do, we don't really want to get into that. Because "being haunted by God" is not necessarily a comfortable thing!

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