“Not as man sees; does God see, because man sees the outward appearance, but God looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16).
As the apostles in the gospel today think the blind man lacks God’s favour due to his malady, so Samuel judges God’s favour based on physical appearance. Young Samuel had been placed in the service of the Lord under the priest Eli at the sanctuary in Shiloh. 1 Samuel 3 recounts how he learned to listen to the voice of God. “Speak Lord your servant is listening.”
In today’s first reading, as Samuel is to select the next king of Israel and Judah, he does what we often do…neglects to ask God’s guidance, trusting in his instincts to guide his decision-making process, thus judging “as man sees.” Before Samuel acts, God quickly corrects him to see as God sees. looking not at the appearance but into the heart. Samuel was operating under some stress at the time. Saul, whom he had anointed, was still king. If news got out that Samuel was anointing a replacement without the king’s knowledge, the prophet’s life would be on the line.
We, too, make some of our worst decisions under stress, forgetting to consult God. The present coronavirus epidemic is a case in point. How many decisions have we been making in the current climate, based on panic, anxiety, selfishness, distrust of God? May God catch our attention as quickly as he did Samuel’s when, under whatever stresses that may affect us, we forget to consult God for the decisions we must make in life.