Barnabas was given that name by the Apostles because it means "Son of Encouragement." We see how apt that name was in today's first reading. In today’s Gospel reading from John 10, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Let’s talk sheep.
On a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I learned a bit about sheep. Being a city boy all my life, I never spent any time with sheep and sometimes didn’t completely get what Jesus was saying. Sheep form a bond with their shepherd. They are especially familiar with his smell and his voice. Because of the configuration of their head and eyes, they generally can’t see above a man’s knees. So they smell his feet and listen for his voice. That’s how they know him.
So what does Jesus’ voice sound like? Great question. Sometimes it sounds like my own voice. Sometimes it sounds like someone else’s. And sometimes it doesn’t make a sound at all. Sometimes the way we “hear” it is to “feel” it. However that works, let’s be open to hearing His voice and obeying it.
Father, give us open ears and open hearts, that we may always hear the voice of our Good Shepherd. Amen.
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