When we hear Christ’s voice, we can’t be led astray

When I hear a voice of a person I can’t see at the seminary, I sometimes enjoy trying to figure out and guess who the person is. Occasionally, it is easy to figure out. And other times, I must search my memory and wait for a distinct pronunciation or phrase for it to click. Sometimes, I get it wrong, or my initial guess is wrong, but often by listening more, it comes to me.

I do this for fun, but sheep do this for survival. They need to know their shepherd’s voice, so they can follow and have their shepherd protect and care for them. In Jesus’ time, sheepfolds from many shepherds would often come together during the night and be kept together so that the shepherds could share watch. At the start of the day, the sheep had to be separated, so they could go out and graze with their shepherds. Separating sheep by sheep did not work, as it would take too long. But calling out and having sheep remember a voice did work. And so, shepherds would train the sheep to know their distinct voice and call.

In the spiritual life, God is also trying to teach us his distinct voice. We are all like those sheep penned up for the night and excited and looking forward to getting out and grazing. However, there are some thieves and robbers who are trying to lead us astray by calling us out to graze, but who really want to destroy us. Do not be led astray and destroyed by these voices of the world. We need to focus on Jesus’ voice and ignore all others trying to lead us astray.

But what does Jesus’ voice sound like? Is it low and gravelly or nice and mild?

We see in the first reading that through Peter, Jesus’ voice is proclaimed and cuts to their heart; the people repent and are baptized. In the second reading, we once again hear Jesus’ voice through Peter as he tells us about the example of Jesus that we are called to follow. All Scripture is the word of God, which is the voice of Jesus. We also hear Jesus’ voice through the Church, the bride of Christ, in the Mass and often in silence.

However, we hear lots of other voices — those of hatred, fear, racism, lust, pleasure, greed, pride and laziness. We hear these voices, and in our desire for grazing, can be led astray to follow. As we listen to these voices of the world, we might come to know them better than God’s. And this is to our destruction.

As sheep destined for good grazing land, we wait in total trust for the voice of the good shepherd, who has come to give us eternal life.

Deacon Schneider is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity for the Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin, co-sponsored by the Archdiocese for the Military Services. His teaching parish is St. Patrick in Hudson, Wisconsin, and his home parish is Nativity of Our Lord in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.


Sunday, May 7
Fourth Sunday of Easter

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Category: Sunday Scriptures