4th Week of Easter
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (John 10:3)
Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4;John 10:1-10
It may seem rather insulting to hear Jesus comparing us to sheep. After all, sheep are usually considered to be rather stupid animals that eventually end up on our dinner plates. But actually, Jesus is commenting on how intelligent sheep can be. They know better than to follow a stranger’s voice—something that even we humans don’t always get right! But these sheep have become so accustomed to hearing their shepherd speak that they won’t even acknowledge another person’s voice.
This is God’s vision for all of us. He fashioned us, as his children, with the capacity to hear his voice and be formed by his word. And to do this, he gave us the gift of a conscience, which the Church calls our “most secret core and … sanctuary” (Catechism, 1776). Our conscience is not just a “sin gauge,” telling us how wrong or right a certain action is. It is the place where we hear the Lord most clearly and most intimately. It’s our inner self, the place where we learn the most about ourselves and the place where we hear our Father tell us who we really are.
Clearly, our conscience helps us to do more than avoid wrongdoing. It also points out the good we could be doing. Do you sometimes feel promptings to reach out to someone who is hurting or to stand against some injustice? Chances are, these promptings are not just “shoulds” and “ought-tos.” They are God’s invitation to use your unique gifts to become his messenger of grace and love.
Those who have access to a computer probably check their e-mails at least once a day—perhaps several times a day. Today as you spend time with the Lord, check your “spirit-mail.” Surely God has sent you a message—perhaps dozens of them! Some of these may seem unimportant, such as “Pray for that friend who has lost his job,” or “Give your daughter a call, and tell her that you love her.” But if you respond to those messages, you will be doing no small task. You will be building God’s kingdom on earth!
“Lord, it’s so easy to become distracted by other voices. Help me to be still and hear you. May I always follow your still, small voice and walk in your love and grace.” ~WAU