Gospel John 10:11-18

“They too will listen to my voice…”

Throughout the Gospels Jesus uses a variety of images to describe the love that he and his heavenly Father have for us, and the relationship that they seek to have with each and every one of us. Here in this figure of the Good Shepherd we find an image that continues to resound in our hearts and minds.

The shepherd would have been a familiar sight to those to whom Jesus first addressed these words – indeed there were probably many among them who had firsthand experience doing that very job. For us however, the role and duties of the shepherd are far from our day to day experience, and yet the image is still one that strikes us.

In speaking of his role as shepherd, Jesus tells his followers that those of his flock will know his voice when they hear it.

This seems strange to us today. How can we, who live 2000 some years after the time of Christ hear and know his voice?

The first step is to take some time out – to stop and to listen. Not only reflect on God’s Word as it comes to us in Scripture and in Liturgy, but to allow our very self to recognise its own lack, its need. Without allowing for the question which is our own existence to come to the fore, how can we adequately receive the answer which is Christ? We need to open ourselves and not try to impose our own wishes on to what the Lord may be telling us.

Am I listening? Really listening?

So often we do not allow ourselves to hear the still, gentle voice of the Lord. We do not allow ourselves to encounter our own selves, our own ‘I’. We avoid silence, we flee contemplation, we busy ourselves with all manner of distractions.

Pope Francis points out that “It is so difficult to listen to the voice of Jesus, the voice of God, when you believe that that the whole world revolves around you: there is no horizon, because you become your own horizon.”

Point to Ponder

 

Best of any song
is bird song
in the quiet, but first
you must have the quiet.

Wendell Berry, A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997, p. 207.