HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY
HOMILY THEME: THERE ARE VOICES AND THERE IS THE VOICE
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
First reading – Acts 4:8-12
Second reading – 1 Jn. 3:1-2
Gospel – Jn. 10:11-18
There must be a difference between “hearing” and “listening”. To hear something could mean an act of sounds filtering into the external sense organ, the ear. There may not be any commitment to pay attention and act in accordance with the sound. One may hear but may not even understand. On the other hand, to listen shows a commitment to pay attention with an aim of understanding, nay, readiness to act in accordance with what we have listened to. At any rate, we often hear first before we listen.
Have you ever tuned to a radio frequency where more than two radio stations are in conflict of which one would override the other? One station may be playing rock music, another may be playing jazz while the other may be casting their news. While you may have the ability to hear all, it takes a decision to fine-tune to the one you would wish to listen to.
There are lots of voices in our world today clamoring for attention. The voice of wealth is moaning, the voice of power is yearning, the voice of pleasure is hauling, yet, the small still voice of God constantly beckons on us. How do we know the authentic voice and pay heed? The authentic voice is the voice of the Master, the voice of Our Lord, The Good Shepherd. Psalm 95:7 says He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. To wander away from Him means we have strayed. To fall away from His hands means to fall into the hands of an enemy. To listen to any other voice than His means to get the wrong information. .“…and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” This is a wonderful excerpt from today’s gospel. It is more expounded in verses 14 and 27 if we read further the same chapter 10 of the gospel according to St John. Jesus particularly affirms that those who belong to Him know him, He knows them. They not only listen to His voice, but also, follow Him.
In the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, Peter averred that of all names given to men, only the name of the Shepherd can save us. For us to be saved, we must shun every other unconnected voice from our lives and pay attention only to the voice of the Lord. He alone cannot deceive us. He alone is the Good Shepherd who lay down His life for us. The words of the Psalms are quite relevant here. “I will listen to what God the LORD says; his voice speaks of peace to his people”- Psalm 85:8-9. An important question now is: whose voice do I listen to?