Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sunday Gospel Reflection, May 11, 2014: The shepherd calls his own sheep by name...

Where do you go when you go astray?  And how do you find your way back?

God knows that we humans have a tendency to wander. to stray from right paths.  In our lives of constant movement, we seem to have a marked penchant for making choices that take us away from persistent attention to God and God’s promise, and toward the exile of sin and separation.  It is a lonely voyage away from home, away from the security of our sheepfold.

On this Good Shepherd Sunday, our readings seem poised to help us find our way back home, back to abundant life. In our reading from Acts, the whole house of Israel is cut to the heart when Peter tells them that Jesus was indeed the Messiah they had been waiting for, yet whom they had failed to acknowledge while he walked among them on earth.  In their sorrow, they feel lost and ask, What are we to do, my brothers?  Peter’s response is clear:  Repent and be baptized, all of you whom the Lord our God will call.  Which seems to suggest that it's about listening first, hearing the call, and then moving back in the direction of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, to God.  Through his suffering and death, Jesus the Lord is our shepherd, guiding us in right paths (Psalm 23), so that we no longer go astray, but rather return home to the shepherd and guardian of our souls (1 Peter).  In John’s Gospel, Jesus is quite clear on this point:  he, as Shepherd, calls us, his own sheep, by name; if we hear his voice and accept his invitation to renewed relationship, he will lead us out, walking ahead of us, so that we might follow him.  

So… have you been hearing Jesus’s voice lately?  Has it occurred to you that his voice might be calling your name, if only you were disposed to listen?  if only your heart were open and in tune to the sound of his call?
How do you find your way back?  
You might start by listening… with your heart.
(More on listening in Monday's blogpost!)

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