Reading: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27.
Good morning, Happy Tuesday, and many blessings my dear family.
The setting for today’s Gospel (John 10:22-30) is the Temple. Jesus is in the Portico of Solomon and several Jews gathered around him and asked: “How long will you keep us in suspense? Tell us who you are! Are you the Christ?” They desperately wanted to hear Jesus to say to them: “Yes, I am the Christ.”
However, Jesus did not do as they asked. Rather he said to them (perhaps in an exasperating way): “I have already told you who I am! And you refuse to believe me.” Jesus then tells these difficult Jews that his “sheep” not only hear his voice, they also listen intently to his voice. His sheep trust him and they follow him. Jesus will give up his life to protect His sheep from harm. Jesus then says that he will give them eternal life!
Then Jesus begins to speak of his Father. He says that his Father is greater than anyone. And no one has the ability to take his sheep out of the Father’s hand. Jesus ends with the simple yet powerful statement: “the Father and I are one.” How did the Jews react to Jesus’ words? Not very well I suspect!
Did the Jews want to understand who Jesus was? Or were they simply harassing him? I suspect they wanted Jesus to give them an answer that they could use against him in the future. It is clear that these Jews were not open to Jesus’ message. They simply were trying to manipulate him!
Jesus refused to play their game. I assume that his refusal to answer their questions simply fueled the Jews’ anger. Did his response intensify the Jews’ desire to rid themselves of Jesus? Yet Jesus stayed true to who he was. What a model Jesus is for us!
We also learn in this Gospel that Jesus is our protector and Shepherd who guards and guides, who feeds and protects us from the dangers of life and defends us from anyone who tries to take us away from him. We are assured of this gift as we stay connected to hearing his voice. Those who identify with Jesus hear his voice and come to know and trust in him. They follow in love, wanting only to be in relationship with him.
Do we speak out about what we believe, even when the people who are listening may not want to hear what we have to say? Do we have the courage of Jesus to stand up and speak of our beliefs and values, in the face of criticism or anger? Being a follower of Jesus is not easy! We also are called to voice our truth. At times, we do this with our words. In other situations, our actions or attitude may speak for us. We may not need words! Jesus will give us the courage and grace when we are in need! Do we trust Him to do so? Will we be a true follower of Jesus?