Acts 2:14, 36-41; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10
Jesus is the “Gate”. Those who enter through that Gate will be “shepherds” for the flock. Those who pretended to be the leaders before Jesus, (namely these very same Pharisees), were self-serving destroyers of the flock. What we hear is a stronger statement about them. He calls them thieves and robbers. Jesus declares Himself to be the New Shepherd of the People of God and those who follow Him will learn His voice as well as the voices of the “stranger”. Jesus says that He, as shepherd knows each of us by name and calls to us individually to the abundant life.
In the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection narratives, Jesus came calling people by their names: Mary Magdala in the garden of Resurrection and Thomas who had doubted. Jesus went out calling to His flock whether they were on the road to Emmaus or out fishing in the dark. Somehow they came to recognize His voice, not so much by actual sound, but by how His voice sounded inside them. This then is the beginning of discernment of God’s calling.
The Pharisees guided the “Flock of God” by externally telling them what exactly they must do to be good. This was controlling and all on the external. The people had to listen to the words, but not the interior voice. The Voice of the Good Shepherd touches something deeper within us. The “name” is more than an appellation or title. Jesus calls to something of Himself which is buried within us. It resounds as an unexplainable harmony within us. External conformity is just that and not discernment. Conformity is immediate, instinctual, and fearful. John presents the Pharisees as “strangers” who forced conformity with a whip of fear.
Learning the Voice of Jesus takes reflection, time, and confrontation with our egoistic voices. We learn what disharmony sounds like and the necessity for approval which it demands. As we say, the bottom line is this (and it actually is for this Reflection): the relationship with God or the “call” is based on who God says we are and not upon what we have to do. What we do will then be a reflection of who we are.
“The Good shepherd is risen! He who laid down his life for his sheep, who died for his flock, he is risen, Alleluia.”
By Fr. Larry Gillick