We are all becoming sheep. For becoming sheep means that within each one of our hearts there lives the voice of Christ. He calls us by name and asks us to follow. He leads us to true nourishment and life. And yet, in our Gospel today, this nourishment, this abundant life where Christ is leading us looks very different than what we might imagine. For we hear that the Good Shepherd is offering up His life for the sheep, so that the sheep can have life. For the Good shepherd, abundant life is not having it all, but giving all for the life of others.
But if He is to lead us to this life, do we know His voice? Can we hear Him calling our name?
For the true name etched into the spirit of every human being is “Loving in Freedom” because freely choosing to love the world in a unique way, gives the soul its real meaning. ‘Become a being that freely loves’, this is the sound of His voice.
And yet there are so many other voices in us, so many thieves and robbers. Those voices would tell us cynically that really we only ever serve ourselves. Those voices would tempt us not to love others, but that it is because of others that we suffer. The robbers and thieves in us steal abundant life by enticing us to put our energy into blame, justifying ourselves, comforting ourselves.
Dear friends, Christ is calling each one of us by our sacred name, but to follow this call we must discern His voice and find our sheep. For at the end, on our deathbed, our lives will feel meaningful only to the extent that we are able to love.
This contemplation by Rev. Evans was inspired by John 20 and The Good Shepherd.