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April 30th, 2023: 4th Sunday of Easter

I recently rescued a dog. She’s a terrier and rather adorable. And she’s crazy about me. She could spend all day with me. But I’m a pastor at a parish and sometimes I leave her at the front desk of the church office. She constantly amazes me by her ability to distinguish between my voice and that of everyone else. If I say one word, even if I’m hidden around a corner, she’ll sprint toward me and jump up into my arms.

This week the readings focus our attention to the voice of the risen Jesus Christ. Comparing his disciples to sheep and himself to a shepherd, he says, “They recognize his voice.” He speaks to us and wants us to respond. When we hear his voice, we follow. Throughout this coming week, we will experience many interior promptings to receive God’s love, and to love Him in return. That’s his voice. Follow it into the safe and tender arms of Christ.

By contrast, some voices we will hear do not convey God’s concern and love for us, but rather produce fear, despair, and other harmful mischief. Jesus calls these voices those of robbers. Does an idea or thought make it harder for you to love God? If so, run away. Let it go. It is most likely not the voice of the Risen Lord. Keep waiting for him to speak. You will recognize his voice. Then run to him as fast as you can.

— Father John Muir



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