The Sheep That Listens | Word from the Shepherd No. 174

4th Sunday Easter | Year C
Acts.13:14-52; Revn.7:9-17; Jn.10:27-30

Many came from far and near to hear Jesus. They came to hear, see, and be touched. They are for the words, the miracles and the healings. They saw him as the Messiah. They were fascinated with his tenderness, love and compassion. They may have come for his stand against the religious and civil authorities. Some could have been attracted by the new groundswell, the glamour and this civil movement.

But along the way and with time, many fell away. Eventually, even his disciples left for reasons of their own. They felt the demands of discipleship too heavy going; that Jesus was becoming unpopular with the authorities of the day; that his teachings were hard to believe; and his language was intolerable.

A good many stayed. This was what Jesus said of them: that they were given by the Father; that they were never meant to be stolen or lost; that they were “his sheep”, his own; and that they were the ones who listened to his voice. His sheep came, saw, stayed, told and brought others to the Shepherd.

Acts13 included the pagans who were responsive and thankful for the good news brought by Paul and Barnabas (which was rejected by the Jews at Antioch).

The Book of Revelations 7 features the assembly, from every nation, race, tribe and language, before the throne of God as the sheep that listened to his voice. They were known to the Son, and they knew the One who sent Him.

Listening to God’s voice entails 4 considerations:

  1. We  have to check our receivers. Jer.29:13 …“when you seek Me with all your heart, I shall be found”. It requires persistence, readiness to hear and entering into prayer.
  2.  We need to find the frequency. In John 10:4…. “they know my voice”. One has to spend time or waste time in prayer spaces, to begin to recognise that voice of God. Coming to recognise the Lord and His voice takes time. Mistakes and slip ups and false alarms has to be expected.
  3. We learn to filter the voices. In John 10:27…”my sheep hear my voice”. St Paul reminded His people to test every spirit. Discerning disciples wait on the Lord to confirm the message.
  4. We confirm its genuineness with the scriptures. In 2Tim.3:16….”all scripture is inspired by God”. Any voice  of God matches God’s word. They do not contradict Scriptures.

The listening sheep begins to know the shepherd, know his voice, know his flock and sheepfold, when it stays …when it is not “rolling stone”.
Their faith and their relationship deepens when it soaks in His word.
They allow themselves to be discipled, reflect the shepherd’s thoughts, actions and character.
Their discipleship goes beyond mass attendance and devotions.
They live the word. This was what Jesus meant when He said: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it”.

As we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday or Vocation Sunday, remember the many shepherds who pointed us to God, helped to us know our calling and mission.
To be a good shepherd, we must learn to be a good sheep.
To be a good leader, we must be a good follower.
A spiritual writer remarked.”Many claim to faith in Jesus. Only a few are discipled”.