John 10; 27-30
The Gospel for this Sunday is brief in comparison with those of the past few weeks. However, In three verses a lot is said. This Gospel comes after a lengthy discourse by Jesus about the Good Shepherd. At the end of the discourse we are told that Jesus goes into the temple area where those gathered begin to question him about who he is. Jesus refers back to his earlier teaching about the Good Shepherd and uses the image of the sheep hearing the Shepherd’s voice to describe his identity. He seems to be saying that if they had been listening to him, they would have heard his teachings, and they would know who he is. The message to them is clear, true followers of Jesus will hear his voice and follow him. They will receive eternal life, no one can take them from him.
The image of the Good Shepherd and the sheep is a beautiful one, and one that is easy for us to picture. We are the cute, frisky sheep, and Jesus is the strong and caring shepherd who keeps us from harm. The key to this image is that the sheep listen. Applying this to our relationship with Jesus it calls us to be attentive to the voice of the Lord. Being part of the flock does not mean that we wander about aimlessly, without a care, and oblivious to all that is around us. The followers of Jesus have the mission and purpose to follow him and to live according to his ways. As followers of Jesus we must keep our ears and hearts open so as to hear him when he calls us. His ultimate call is to eternal life, but in that call is the voice of Jesus who calls us to turn away from danger and sin, who invites us to see his presence in those around us, and who calls us to walk closer to him.
These past four weeks we have heard much; the proclamation of the readings of the Triduum: the Easter Proclamation, or Exultet: the Gospels of the Resurrection and post resurrection appearances of Jesus. We sang alleluia and songs of the resurrection. Although we heard the words and we sang the hymns, did we really hear the voice of the Lord? We live in a world full of noise, voices from the various means of media, voices in crowded shops and restaurants. With all of this noise are we able to distinguish the voice of the Lord so as to hear and listen to him? To be truly one of his, we have the need to attentively listen to his voice. Jesus tells us much in the Scriptures that we hear each week, and can read daily, are they merely words, or are they the voice of Jesus?
This short Gospel gives us the simple, but important lesson of our need to be attentive in our daily lives so as to truly hear the voice of Jesus. The Easter Season is our time to celebrate the Victory of Jesus over sin and death, and to walk with the Risen Lord on that road to victory. It is a Season for us to continue to sing loudly and joyfully, Alleluia and to let the alleluia’s resound within our hearts and in a joy that we can’t keep to ourselves. May it be at time for us to grow in attentiveness to the Shepherd’s voice, and joy at following him on the road to His Victory. Alleluia, Jesus is Risen!
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.