In the gospel Jesus gives us the Parable of the Good Shepherd. It shows the deep bond between the Shepherd and the sheep, explaining that strangers may try to persuade the sheep, perhaps by imitating the voice of their shepherd. But they will not follow them because they only obey the voice of their shepherd. “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me…and they will hear my voice.” (John 10:14, 16).
Accordingly, sheep have the ability to distinguish the distinct voice of their shepherd among the many voices of strangers. The latter may try to mimic their shepherd’s voice but their sharp memory can never be fooled. They know well their pastor’s voice and only his they will listen and follow.
Sheep are also dependent on their shepherd since they cannot protect themselves from predators (They are prey animal.) They need to submit themselves under his guidance, follow him and rely on his protection and care in order to survive. And this is the key to their survival - heeding and obeying their shepherd’s voice.
Just like the sheep we need the guidance of a shepherd in order to live, in order to survive from all the onslaughts of the devil. The closer we are to our Good Shepherd, the safer we are. And the safer we are, the more we can enjoy life to the fullest. But this cannot be realized if we do not have a sheep-like attitude. We have to understand that just like the sheep we need to be meek and humble. And most importantly we must always be familiar with the voice of our Good Shepherd, LISTENING ATTENTIVELY to his words and humbly obeying his will. We can only know and be familiar with his voice if we spend an enormous time with Him in prayer (both personal and communal), Bible reading, catechism and most importantly through the Eucharist. It is through the holy celebration of the Eucharist that we personally encounter our Good Shepherd as we listen attentively to His words in the readings, in the homily of the priest and as we receive Him worthily in Holy Communion.
Our constant communication and communion with Jesus will surely help us build a strong bond with Him which will give us great opportunities to be more acquainted with His voice. So that when difficulties, confusions, temptations and trials come we will remain calm as we listen faithfully in his consoling words, “I am your Good Shepherd.”
Jesus indeed is the Good Shepherd and he will do everything to take care of us, to protect us and give us life. But we need to cooperate with Him by heeding his voice and doing what he tells us. All His efforts will be in vain if we continue to cover our ears with our selfishness and pride. We will continue to be lost if we continue to deafen our ears by entertaining and following other “voices” in this world which only intend to kill and destroy us.
Let us strive and continue to be humble and docile sheep to Jesus, our Good Shepherd. Let us talk to Him always in prayer, listen to His voice and follow His commandments.
- Fr. Emil Valeza