“My Sheep hear my Voice”
Meditation for Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C
(Acts 13:14, 43-52; Rev 7:9, 14-17; Jn 10:27-30)
Today, we celebrate the mystery of Christ as the Good Shepherd. The first reading exemplifies how Jesus, the Good Shepherd, silently leads His flock through the ministry of the Church. Paul and Barnabas met strict persecution in Antioch among the Jews, who became jealous of the Gentiles that gathered to hear the good news. But the two would not give up the mission Christ had called them to; no opposition would discourage them. As Jesus said in the Gospel of today, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Paul and Barnabas held firm to the word of God, and to the mission that was entrusted to them. Paul described this mandate as to bring the good news to the Gentiles and to bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth. By being obedient to the word of God, and following Jesus as their Good Shepherd through their commitment to the gospel, the opposition against Paul and Barnabas even helped them to achieve their mission since they traveled down to Iconium, filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
The revelation of John in the second reading gives us the vision of the great multitude who listened and followed Jesus as their Good Shepherd. This vision indicates the direction to which the Good Shepherd is leading us. Thus, to follow Him requires that we align our steps towards that heavenly destination. The great multitude is described as coming from every nation, language, and people. They all gathered before the throne and the Lamb, who is their only focus. United under the Lamb, they all wore white robes and held palm branches. Their radiant beauty speaks of their victory over tribulations; “They have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Unlike Paul and Barnabas, who suffered persecution, those who have reached the heavenly destination around the throne shall bear no more suffering and pain. At this time, the fullness of the Lamb as the Good Shepherd shall be revealed upon them. “He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
That is why it is important for us today to listen to His voice. He promised to lead us on the pathway of life, and to the fullness of life. Jesus indicated that the sheep might face threat to life; an attempt to snatch them away and be destroyed. However, those who listen to His voice, and follow Him cannot be misled; they are secure in the Father’s hand. Therefore, through the words of Jesus, the strong arm of God leads us forward over and above every difficulty and life challenge.
Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.” Like Paul and Barnabas, and the Saints in Heaven, we contemplate the face of Jesus through the Gospel. In this way, our minds are fed with His word, and our will is strengthened to follow where He leads. This is how we persevere in our vocation and in good works despite opposition and tribulations along the way. This, too, is how we reach our eternal destination. Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Sunday, May 8th, 2022.
Good Shepherd Sunday