Christians have been called upon to discern the voice of God and heed to his call. This call was made by Fr. Austen Christmas, the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Good Shepherd Rushoroza Cathedral Parish while preaching in 2nd Mass in Rushoroza Cathedral on Sunday, January 14, 2024. Drawing his message from the first reading of the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (1 Samuel 3:3-10,19), Fr. Austen urged Christians to always listen and discern the voice of God.
He said that God called Samuel three times, but Samuel did not exactly know the voice that was calling him, and so he went to Eli, thinking it was Eli calling him. However, Eli helped him to discern and discover the call of God by instructing him: when he calls again, say “Speak lord for your servant is listening.”
Fr. Austen said that Samuel heard this call of God from temple at Shiloh, not in any other place, thereby imploring the Christians to always find time to be in silence in the presence of God. Quoting the Psalmist, Fr. Austen said, “harden not your heart today but listen to the voice of the Lord” (Psalm 95:7-8).
Everyday we are called upon to discern this call of God. In this world, there are many voices, both good and evil. So take your time to discern which one is the voice of God. We must have people to help us discern this voice of the Lord, as Eli helped Samuel discover the call of God. Therefore, have somebody who can help you discover if it’s the call of God or the call of the evil one – Fr. Austen Christmas.
Fr. Austen also implored parents to always listen to their children for they need their guidance and advice, without which the children will stray. In the same vein, he invited the children to always listen to their parents and elders, for they will help their in life. Quoting the second reading from 1 Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20 Fr. Austen also reminded the Christians that since they were all called by God, they need to change their lives for the service of God, since their lives are a temple of the Spirit of God who dwells in them.
In the Gospel of John 1:35-42, John the Baptist helped his disciples to discover the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. After knowing him, the disciples of John then followed Jesus. They left everything and followed him. In God’s divine plan of salvation, He regularly uses the mediation of others to bring forth the conversion of hearts. We see this on many levels. First and foremost, He uses our Blessed Mother as the Mediatrix of Grace to bring forth His grace upon us all. Through her mediation, there are other saints who act as intercessors. God is the source of all but uses the heavenly hosts to bring forth His grace upon us all.
Reflect, today, upon the holy and sacred calling you have received to act as a mediator of God’s infinite grace and mercy. First, think about the many people God wants to touch through you. Also think about the fact that those people might never be drawn to God if you fail to act. God can do all things and touch many people in varied ways, but the fact remains that He does want to use you for His mission. Say “Yes” to that mission so that you, like many others, will share in the glorious calling of being an intercessor and a mediator of God’s grace.
Fr. Austen Christmas concluded by thanking all the people who were involved in the preparation of the centenary celebrations of Rushoroza Cathedral Parish which took place on Sunday, January 7, 2024. He thanked God that all the celebrations went on well and he reminded the faithful not to forget the theme of the celebration which is still the Parish Theme of the Year 2024: “Stir up the faith that you received” (2 Tim 1:6).