In this short passage from the gospel of John, Jesus is responding to a question posed by a group of Jewish religious leaders who wanted him to speak plainly and prove that he really was the Messiah. Jesus spoke very plainly back, probably a little more plainly than they wanted. Previously Jesus had challenged them by describing a true shepherd, alluding to the fact that they were not good shepherd’s because they didn’t care for their herd. Here Jesus tells them that they are not even true sheep, because the sheep believe and hear the Messiah’s voice. Jesus went on to describe the benefits and blessings that come from following him.
As Catholics, we know in theory that God is always there, but there are times when it is hard to believe, and we just want some evidence. Let’s face it, when we feel hurt, rejected, unloved, or lost, it can be challenging to see God. Or when we fail to do good by ourselves and others, or we get distressed and fall for temptations, we are like the lost sheep who strayed from the shepherd, we end up feeling shame or unworthy because we can no longer hear his voice.
Yet we are reminded in this passage that we are known and loved. Like a Good Shepherd, Jesus knows us and is with us, he is in our midst. However, with the stress and fast paced nature of our world today we leave little room and time to hear his voice.
As we go about our busy life in this noisy world, may we ponder on our busyness and seek out the calm and quiet in our hearts. It is only in this internal silence and calm that we can hear and follow Jesus our Good Shepherd.