In today’s gospel, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, says his sheep know his voice and follow him. They are not fooled by the voices of strangers, with bad intentions, calling out to his sheep…but listen only to his voice and seek to follow him. But this takes attention and listening, one thing that often seems in short supply in our modern stressed out life, especially now in the midst of this pandemic. But now even more we need to listen for that voice of the Good Shepherd. The life that Jesus calls us to is by its very nature countercultural; it runs against the grain of much of what our modern society values. While, as Americans we love to wrap ourselves in our flag and the bible…we rarely actually follow Jesus’ clarion call to create a loving, inclusive, peaceful and just society…at all costs…and to be single-mindedly focused on building up the Reign of God.
While many in our society are quick to call us to war against “the godless” are we really building a society that actually follows the call of the “Good Shepherd” to bind up the wounds of the poor and discarded, to reach out and heal those injured by injustice and indifference, to stand up against racism, bigotry, misogyny and all forms of decimation that demean the dignity of the human person? Whose voices are we listening to in our national discussions on topics like care for the earth, civil rights, education reform…and as we debate healthcare reform, whose voices are we really listening to…the Good Shepherds? Would Jesus recognize us as his disciples, from the fruit our work? How do I listen for God’s voice in my life? What do I need to do to make more time to listen to the words God speaks to me in and through the people, places and events of my daily life? When was the last time I heard God calling me to something…and to what was it? In the midst of crisis do I find myself listening for the healing voice of the Good Shepherd?