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Do You Know His Voice?
Gospel Reflection for May 1, 2023
“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.” (John 10:11-18 NABRE)
This analogy that Jesus uses to describe Himself is absolutely beautiful and very comforting. Thinking of our Lord Jesus as our Shepherd highlights His love for us and His protectiveness. We need not fear because just as a shepherd protects and looks after their vulnerable flock, so Jesus protects and looks after us. Like a shepherd, the Lord walks before us to guide and lead us, and He finds us when we go astray.
This analogy demonstrates that Jesus is nothing like the fleeting things of this world, which leave people feeling empty, abandoned, and uncared for. Rather, Jesus is our source of life and fulfillment. He loves us, protects us, cares for us, looks after us, and He never abandons us.
Further, just as Jesus protects each and every individual sheep, He protects the whole flock, the Church. So, to the Church, Jesus is also her protector, guider, and caretaker. Jesus promised, like a good Shepherd, that “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
When you love someone, you know them well and are familiar with their mannerisms, likes and dislikes, beliefs, and even their voice. So much so, you can recognize their voice even when they are out of sight.
In today’s busy, chaotic, and secular world and culture, it can be hard to hear Jesus’ voice when there are so many different views, opinions, and ideas being thrown at us through the media, in our communities, and even from people who are close to us. Yet, if we want Jesus to be our Shepherd, we need to learn to hear His voice.
We must strive to grow closer in our relationship to the Lord each and every day, and we need to learn from Him and about Him by reading the Scriptures. Just as we do every day here at Missio Dei! As we grow in knowledge about our Lord and as we grow in love with Him, we will be able to more clearly hear His voice amidst the increasingly sinful ideologies of today. We will be able to tell the difference between our Lord’s voice and the world’s voice, and like His flock, we will be able to better follow our Shepherd without going astray.