4th Sunday Easter A
May 11, 2014
Many years ago, when we were in High School, the official publication of the school was called very simply, “The Voice.” I did not think it was very creative back then, and neither did I fancy the idea that “The Voice” would attract hordes of readers other than those who wrote for it, their parents, and their close-in supporters.
It was bland, nondescript, uninspired, and absolutely boring.
But it did have a following. “The Voice” had a steady stream, albeit small, of readers. We loyalists heard and followed “The Voice” alright and it was the closest thing to having our own brand of “Readers’ Digest” that we all looked forward to perusing, years before facebook took all of it away.
The Lord was not one to turn heads either. He came from a forlorn, forgotten place called Nazareth. And indeed, “what good could come from Nazareth?”
But the Nazarean did have a voice alright. He called a few to follow him. He taught, He preached. He healed. He cured. He did wonders. And a small band began to follow him. All the way … In all ways … Most of them for always, except one who gave in to despair and went swiftly into the night.
Peter, who was weak like you and me, faltered. He wavered at the voice of the maidservant who said, “you, too, were among his band of followers, weren’t you?” But the erstwhile voice of the maidservant could only last for three short moments, long enough for him to say “I don’t know the man,” but short enough for him to recognize his sin and cry out in sorrow with bitter tears.
But there was Paul, too, who listened to the voice of contemporary philosophers and secularists, then. He took up the cudgels for them and “breathed murderous threats” to the followers of the Galilean. He persecuted the Church, but the voice of those who hated the Church was no match for the Voice of him who said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Paul took heed. He listened and allowed the Voice to take the better of him. He repented. He believed. He followed, like no other disciple did, and embarked on numerous missionary journeys, as if to make up for lost time all throughout the time he was a persecutor and a big stumbling block to all incipient believers.
Today, like Peter, like Paul, like the disciples, I need to hear “The Voice” once again. I need to pay attention to the voice of one who leads, not misleads; the voice of One who guides, not glides over our lives and our world with utter unconcern and carefree insouciance.
No. The Voice I speak about is shepherd. I take that back … He is the gatekeeper. No … again he was a shepherd “who calls his own sheep by name.” No … he is the gate for the sheep. Which is which? He is simply Good Shepherd, and the Good Shepherd has a VOICE. He calls. He guides. He teaches. He opens gates for his sheep, and He Himself is the gate. He is all this and everything. He is life. He is journey. He is destination. He is reward. He is the Way. Truth. Life.
In this regard, I can never be confused as I actually am confused right now. I hear too many voices. Are we growing and developing really? Are we curbing corruption really? Then why are there still so many poor people? Radio and TV commentators seem to have a common “voice” all the time about contentious issues. Major broadsheets seem to always echo the offiicial line of the the powers-that-be.
Which is which, then? This life confuses us. The strident voices of people so caught up in politics and in the agenda covered by dysfunctional politics of the plundering kind will always tell you what you want to hear. But are we progressing? Are we closer now to the truth, to prosperity, and to the common good than we were, say, three or four years ago.
I am changing channels. I suggest you do the same. Change your service provider. Change your cable … Change your network … Don’t just listen to any voice, but listen to “the Voice.”
“A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Are you listening? Are you following?