In these days of club soccer club swimming club volleyball baseball hockey, it is hard to remember how things were when I was a child growing up. Sports clubs never existed. Mom and dad just told us, “Go outside and play. Lookout for cars. Come in when the streetlights turn on when your mom calls you.” It is that last command that has always stayed with me, “when your mom calls you.” Is there anyone who doesn’t know the sound of his own mother’s voice? Is there anyone who can’t tell when mom is happy or upset or concerned just by the sound of her voice? All of us grew up hearing that voice and all of its intonation’s and know exactly what the sound means and how we are to respond.
So should it be with us and the Lord? We hear in the Gospel today Jesus say, “My sheep know my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” From all of the voices in this world, from all the midst of the roar of life, do I know the voice of Jesus so well that when I hear it, I know it. There are so many people in our world today shouting for our attention, and some of those voices are not the voice of Christ. In the world of politics: “He is a sniveling coward” “I want to slug that guy in the face.” Is that the sound of Jesus’ voice? In the world of morality: “Two consenting adults should be allowed to do anything they want.” “Abortion is a woman’s right.” Is this how Jesus sounds? In our society: You only go around once in life so grab for all the gusto you can.” Jesus his voice sounds like this: “I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep.” “I give them them eternal life.” “No one can snatch them out of my hand.” In the voice of Christ, we hear overwhelming love for his people. In the voice of Christ, we hear compassion, forgiveness, understanding. In the voice of Christ we hear clear moral direction based on love. “I know my sheep, and they know me.”
It can be hard for us to hear that voice from the cacophony all around us. I remember when I was a vocation director some of our new seminarians who began studying at St. John Seminary, which was tucked away from the hubbub of the city in the midst of hills, would complain that they couldn’t sleep at night because it was too quiet! They just were never accustomed to the sound of silence. All of us have to find a quiet place, a quiet time, in our world and within our own hearts to stop and listen for the voice of Christ. Because it is there, it is always there, calling us to follow him.