16 April 2016


acts 13:14, 43-52; revelation 7:9, 14b-17; john 10:27-30

in her book «the preaching life», barbara brown taylor narrates a conversation she had with a friend who grew up on a sheep farm. he contends that sheep are not dumb at all: «the cattle ranchers are responsible for spreading that ugly rumor, and all because sheep do not behave like cows. cows are herded from the rear by hooting cowboys with cracking whips, but that will not work with sheep at all. stand behind them making loud noises and all they will do is run around behind you, because they prefer to be led. you push cows, but you lead sheep, and they will not go anywhere that someone else does not go first—namely, their shepherd—who goes ahead of them to show them that everything is all right.»

JESUS knew what he was saying when he used the shepherd-sheep analogy! 
in palestine, shepherds place several flocks in one sheep-fold. but sheep and shepherd know each other. when the shepherd calls out, the sheep of his flock will sort themselves and follow him; they follow their shepherd only. shepherds not need brands to recognize their sheep.

GOD has placed in a sheep-fold called the world. many voices call out to us: the voices of materialism and consumerism, of regionalism and communalism… 
if you and i are his sheep, we will allow him to lead us. we will not let our passions and fears drive us; we will not let the hooting and loud noises of the world and its values drive us.
how do we discern the voice of the shepherd? we form our conscience and listen to it… that is the voice of our shepherd within us! this is what our visible shepherd, pope francis, is urging us to do in «amoris laetitia», his latest apostolic exhortation.

what happens when we follow our shepherd? 
three things: we have eternal life; we shall never perish… through sorrow and suffering, we will survive; we will always be in the hands of JESUS and the FATHER! what more can we want? what more do we need?
will i listen to my shepherd’s voice and follow him?