Living the Gospel – May 3, 2020

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Jesus always meets a person where that person is. He accepts the person where he/she is at. Thus He spoke to the Jewish people in terms they were very familiar with: Sheep, shepherds, and the identifying “I AM!” Sheep follow their shepherd, run from a strange voice. The shepherd cares for the sheep and God identified Himself more than once as “I AM.” So Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, the Gatekeeper, the one who will lead them to eternal life if they but follow Him. He even uses the God-worthy identification “I AM.” And they just don’t “get it!”

Do we get it? It’s a comforting image to think of Jesus calling to us: “You are Mine and I know you!” But are we really listening? Can we hear the voice of our Lord in the din of everyday life? We have spouses and children, bosses and co-workers, TV and radio, playlists, and podcasts. How in the world can the voice of Jesus be heard through the din? And do we always WANT to hear what He is saying? And how can we be sure that what we do hear is actually Christ speaking to us?

The only way we can hear the voice of our shepherd is to stop listening to the noise of the world and spend quiet time with Him. If we stop running, doing, achieving and just listen, we will come to know His voice.

As I write this, New Your Pause has just been extended for another month. PAUSE! We have basically been forced to stop, slow down, quit doing and in some cases, put achievement on hold. It is an anxiety producing, scary, frustrating time for many of us. But spiritually, maybe it’s just what we need.

A shepherd leads his flock. The flock, the sheep are rather stupid animals who when left to their own devices get separated from the flock, fall into rock crevices, get caught in brambles, and lose their way. They rely totally on their shepherd for food (He knows where the green pastures are), guidance, and safety.

Now that we, human beings with hearts, minds and souls have been rather forced to bring our usual lives to a standstill, what better time to take our lives day by day trusting in our Shepherd’s guidance—listening to Him, trusting Him to lead us and taking the steps He may be guiding us toward. Jesus, Himself said our lives would not be trouble-free. In fact, He said just the opposite: “Take up your cross and follow me.” But He also said: “Do not be afraid. My peace is with you.”

Sometimes we just need to get out of our own way and trust the Shepherd who, by His own admission will guide His flock. “I know Mine and Mine know Me!”

Linda Caminiti