Recently we’ve been reading through the gospel of John with Fr. Mike Schmitz. I was newly struck by how jam packed it is with incredible words and lessons and truths from the Lord. I’m out of breath after each chapter.
Often Jesus is debating with the Pharisees. It’s not a casual discussion. It’s back and forth…The Lord is like a “powerful truth machine”…. a “Giant MRI” detecting any flaw in the statements of the Jews. It’s a no nonsense discussion. There’s no “hey, nice point brother…. gee, I’ve never thought of that”. The Lord knows that they are opposing him, opposing the truth of Almighty God…trying to kill him.
Jesus seems to focus on the truth that “my sheep hear my voice”. The sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. If you hear my voice than the father will take care of the rest. It’s not an intellectual exercise. Even Peter and the apostles often did not understand. When presenting the Eucharist, many disciples left … it was too hard a saying. “Peter, are you also going to leave … Lord, where can we go, you have the words of everlasting life.” Peter trusted Jesus… he caught the essence of the plan from the 30,000’ level… but didn’t understand a lot of the details. Nicodemus, a good and holy man didn’t seem to get it, but he trusted Jesus and threw his lot in with him and was there at the burial of Jesus.
Trust is essential to following Jesus. At some point we need to decide to follow Jesus. We may know some things, but we never know it all. Jesus continues to keep us “off balance”. We can “ace” one test and flunk the next one…. gee, I thought I understood.
Jesus is always looking at our heart. He knows us thru and thru. We can’t fake it. He loves us completely and will always be there for us, for his sheep. He’s constantly calling us deeper… “further up and further in.” The questions we have will be answered in time, in God’s perfect time. In the meantime, we are called to trust his voice…. trust the shepherd. “Trust in the Lord, do good, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Yes, this is one of my very favorite scriptures… currently holding first place for my tombstone. “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:3-5)
Once we realize it’s the Lord speaking, we need to “pipe down and listen.” As the Lord told Job….. “ah excuse me Job, were you there at the creation of the world …..“where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth…tell me if you have understanding.” (Job 38:4)
Once we realize it’s the Lord, let’s just stand close by his side and smile…. maybe whistle quietly. The good shepherd will take care of the rest. And all will be well with our soul. And that is very good news.