"The sheep follow Him, because they recognize His voice." John 10:4
Do we recognize God's voice?
I think He speaks in different ways, and we will never be able to box God in, much less the way He chooses to communicate with us. Yesterday, as we were driving home from a weekend at the beach, I had this urge to pray. First it was because there was a danger we would run out of gas, and when that danger passed, I still had that strong compulsion to pray. I prayed that angels surround our van, that God would thwart any evil intentions of bad men, that we and my sister's family would reach home safely, that we would not be in any accident. I prayed in tongues. I prayed for the people of Nepal affected by the strong earthquake, for persecuted Christians, etc, etc.
Back safely at home, when I was about to fall asleep, my husband Luigi asked me, "Did you have a good sleep?" as he thought I had been dozing in the van while he was driving. "No," I answered, "I was praying almost the whole time."
"Then you heard the loud noise?"
"I did. I thought a rock hit our van."
"That was a man with a gun," he said.
"Whaaat!!" He then told me that there was this SUV that he went ahead of last night. After that, the driver kept trying to squeeze in front of our van but couldn't. He even turned on his flasher. Then, when our vehicles were caught in traffic on a bridge, the man got out and Luigi saw that he had a gun. Then the gun SLIPPED from his hand, and the man scrambled to find it in the dark. When the vehicles started to move, the man ran toward our van and hit it hard with his fist twice!
After Luigi told me this story, I realized that sometimes God gives us this need to pray for protection. When we do pray, we don't even realize what dangers we avert through prayer. I think God allowed this incident because I have been praying for protection for those being persecuted in the Middle East, India and Africa, and sometimes I think to myself, "Am I helping even a tiny little bit? Maybe this is all useless!" But God showed me that I should persist even if I do not see any results!
Yes God speaks. It doesn't have to be an audible voice, or a whisper. He constantly speaks to us in many different ways. Let us be like sheep who know the voice of our Shepherd, and listen and watch for when He speaks for He will if we but be vigilant and wait.
"I am the Good Shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me." John 10:14
On the 4th Sunday of Easter, the Catholic Church celebrates Good Shepherd Sunday. Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and we are His sheep. Although a lamb is lovable and cuddly, it is not exactly a compliment to be compared to sheep! Sheep are quite dumb, short sighted, stubborn, and defenseless. They gather in groups and really need someone to guide them because they can't take care of themselves. They move all together in a herd. In 2006, 400 sheep fell into a 15 meter deep ravine and died because of this instinct.
I like telling the story of my husband when he asked a shepherd if he could feed his sheep. The shepherd said, "That's my problem. Even my son can't feed them. They only recognize my voice!" True enough, when Luigi tried, the sheep did not come. He would approach them and the sheep would move away. Then when the shepherd called, they came right away!
Sheep who know a good master's voice and follows him, will be taken care of. But sheep who follow the wrong voice can end up in a ravine!!!!
"Proclaim the good news to all creation." Mark 16:15
This 'great commission' is not for the apostles alone but for all of us, not just for priests and preachers, but for teachers, housewives, musicians, runners, carpenters, computer experts, garbage collectors, nurses, baby sitters, businessmen, etc.
My sister went to Osaka recently and she was very happy and proud when she went to mass there and most of the mass goers were Filipinos. A young Filipino altar boy and a Filipino nun was helping the Japanese priest read English. In many parts of the world, Filipinos sing heartily in the choirs just like in Osaka. Many Filipino yayas or baby sitters tell stories of Jesus to children they take care of. Sometimes, that is the only time they hear about Jesus.
There is a song that goes, "The greatest sermon ever preached on earth any day at any time is a sermon of a life well lived" and another which goes, "Make me like a love letter, open to all to see, make me legible to all to read...that when they look at me, they see You!"
Yes indeed, when Jesus is the center of our life, we too become part of the Word of God. And sometimes that is the only word they are exposed to!
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