Sitting on a plane, I listened to the flight attendant reviewing the usual procedures for emergency exits, something all of us hope we don’t have to make. She was pointing out the doors, the floor lights, the flotation devices and all those instructions that frequent fliers have heard countless times. I tried to imagine myself remembering all these details in a crisis, and doubted that I could. Pull WHAT cord? Move in WHICH direction? Even in the best of times, my sense of direction is terrible.
How wonderful that, in the most significant sense of the word, we do not have to make our way to safety on our own. Jesus is the gate, the gatekeeper, and the shepherd. Our only task is to listen to the voice of the Beloved, and to follow where it leads. No harm can come to the one who lives this very simple rule. The alternative is, of course, to try to hold all the details in our finite and perfect hands.
Where are you going? Who or what is leading you? What needs to change in your life? Turn this matter over to God in prayer, and spend some time in a quiet place listening for the Beloved voice to lead you
The Scripture (John 10:5) Jesus the Good Shepherd
Having led them all out of the fold, the shepherd walks in front of them and they follow because they recognise the shepherds voice. They simply won’t follow strangers – they’ll flee from them because they don’t recognise the voice of strangers.
A priest in a rural parish had spent a glorious summer’s morning on a local farm, after having been invited by the farmer to assist in mustering the sheep from the top paddock. Until then his encounters with sheep had been limited mainly to rescuing the occasional errant lamb that found itself stuck in one of the fences near the church while reaching for the grass on the other side. But the morning’s work had gone well: he had not sent the sheep the wrong way or lost any – or even lost himself on the hill.
Later that week he assisted the farmer in feeding the sheep. These pastoral experiences gave him a glow of inward satisfaction and he resolved that he would bring them into his homily the following Sunday. But when Sunday arrived, the rain was lashing down and the roads to the church were all badly flooded. The congregation was consequently reduced to a handful and so he debated with himself as to whether, because of the small number of people, he should deliver the fully homily or give only a brief summary.
He opted for the full homily – but then he sensed that it hadn’t gone down too well. Afterwards he said to the farmer, ‘Well, I thought of saying just a few words and then I thought of you feeding the sheep. If only a few come, you still feed them, don’t you?’ ‘That’s as may be,’ replied the farmer. ‘But I don’t give them the full bag of feed, do I?’
Continue reflecting on your life within this community of Jesus Christ.
We believe we have much to learn, much to be thankful for, and much to strive for, as a fellowship of God’s people.
In your resolve to be faithful, in your acceptance of new truth, in your determination to progress in new ways, God’s peace is your peace.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
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