“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
What voice do we listen to? Do we listen to the voice of the Shepherd who calls each sheep by name or the voice of the stranger? The Shepherd knows his sheep, loves them, and will give his life for them. The sheep recognize his voice and stay close to him, for his voice is like no other. His voice brings love, mercy, and peace. Yet no matter how close we stay to the Shepherd, sometimes the voice of the stranger becomes overwhelming. It tries to convince us that we are unworthy of God’s love, and that the sins we have committed can never be forgiven. That voice tries to rob us of our peace and our inheritance as beloved children of God.
Today, let us pray for the grace to listen carefully to the voice of the Shepherd so that we “might have life and have it more abundantly”.
—Mary Lou Manion is an intern in the spiritual direction program at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, Barrington, IL.
The King of love my shepherd is, whose goodness fails me never;
I nothing lack if I am his, and he is mine forever.
And so through all the length of days, your goodness fails me never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing your praise within your house forever.
—Henry W. Baker, “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” in Worship, Fourth Edition, © 20111, GIA Publications, Inc.Please share the Good Word with your friends!