My niece Sarah has developed a love for puzzles.
She loves them so much that this year they bought her this puzzle mat so she can roll them up and save her work if it is time for supper and the family needs the table. We didn’t have those when I was a kid.
I haven’t looked at puzzles for year. But as I watched her work her puzzles a number of things came to mind
A completed puzzle is beautiful.
It is not easy to put a puzzle together hence the name.
It is not always easy to find your place in life.
By themselves puzzle pieces are intriguing little splashes of color but it is not always easy to tell what they really are or part of the bigger picture they play.
You can only really figure out what a puzzle piece is when you see it in the context of the whole puzzle.
Who knows that beautiful patch of green may be a green apple, or a part of a meadow, or part of a young leaf on a warm spring day.
When a piece of the puzzle is missing you can usually still make out the picture but your eye is drawn to what is missing.
The picture suffers because it is not complete.
What does all of this have to do with the readings today ?
Sometimes it is easy to see that God’s loving providential plan, God’s big picture for human kind is like a puzzle.
God’s plan is like a picture which in its entirety is beautiful to behold.
All of us are the pieces of that puzzle.
There is a place for each and everyone one of us in God’s loving plan all of us have a place our own place to fill.
Just like a puzzle piece we can often only understand ourselves, who we are, and what we are to do, our purpose and our lives, in the context of God’s big picture.
When we absent ourselves from God’s plan no one can fill our place.
Even if the puzzle piece was the same shape if the image does not match it cannot take the place of another.
All of today's’ readings talk about vocation.
They speak accepting our place in God’s plan.
As we heard in the Psalm
“Here am I Lord Here am I I come to do your will….”
Samuel was young
He was eager to serve
He just didn’t know what to do..
We learn a lot about hearing God’s call from the experience of Samuel…
First of all God keeps calling.
Samuel heard God’s call several times but didn’t know who it was.
Second God used Eli to help understand God’s call.
God was not happy with Eli, because of the abuses of his sons… in fact it had been prophesied that all of Eli’s male descendents would die.
The fact that Eli and his family were not the most outstanding holy people did not keep God from using them to help Samuel understand his place in the puzzle of life.
After he understood that God was calling him. Samuel established a relationship with him. In the story It was still not clear what Samuel would be called to do.
Essentially in this little story we understand that Samuel accepts that his life and his dreams and his accomplishments will only find their meaning in following God’s plan for him.
Because he understood this, God makes Samuel’s words have meaning.
The Gospel also speaks to God’s greater plan and our call or vocation to participate in it.
In the Gospel we have the call of the first disciples.
John points out Jesus to his disciples. He calls him the “Lamb of God” and they follow Jesus…
It must have been difficult for John to do… and yet he understood that he was not the Messiah.
He understood that only Jesus could help his friends, his disciples find their place in God’s plan.
Did you notice that Jesus is the first to speak?
Jesus took the initiative..
Jesus asks the question of a life time…
when he says What are you looking for ?
After they had spent time with Jesus after they had established a relationship with him were they able to proclaim “We have found the Messiah.”
And from their experience of Jesus they were moved to pass on the message.
Andrew went and brought his own brother to Simon… Simon who would be called peter..
These readings have a special place on a college campus.
While everyone in the Church has a continual responsibility to make sure they are fulfilling God’s plan.
Young adults are at a place in their lives where they are discerning their role in God’s big picture.
Here are some things you should ponder on this long weekend.
1. Your role in God’s plan is so important that God will call over and over and over again.
2. God will use a wide variety of people and experiences to help you understand your place in his plan. Some of them will be surprises or unexpected.
3. The revelation of your place in the puzzle may take a while to realize what is important is that we remain willing to listen.
4. What you are looking for in life?
What you are drawn to or talented in has a role in discerning your place or your vocation.
5. It is important to never hold a person back, John missed his disciples but he knew that they destiny was not with him. (This is a really important thing to remember for people who are in a relationship.)
6. All us have a role to play in discerning our friend’s vocation. All of have a responsibility to challenge each other to fulfill God’s plan. Once Andrew… understood who Jesus was he brought his brother Peter to him.
Who is waiting for us to bring them to Christ?
Who is waiting for us to help them discern God’s plan
As we find our place in the puzzle of life.
As we try to continue to live it..
May the Lord who has begun wonderful things in you bring them to fulfillment.