May 7, 2010
Cricket in the City
4th Sunday of Easter
April 25, 2010
John 10: 27-30 “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
On our way out from the Ateneo de Manila Campus, an old Jesuit said, “I hear a cricket.” We just smiled at him. It was impossible to hear a cricket in the middle of the city noise. But he insisted, “Please stop the car and listen.” Respecting an elderly brother, we did stop for a while and we listened; to our surprise, we did hear the cricket as he told us. The Jesuit Father smiled and said, “I spent a lot of time listening to crickets when I was young. I know them well. Their sounds are music to my ears.”
Today is the fourth Sunday of Easter – also known as the Shepherd Sunday. The gospel invites us to stop, dwell in silence and listen to the voice of God - with our inner ears.
Unfortunately, listening with our inner ears is easier said than done. In the midst of other inner and outer noises that compete with God’s voice, it would entail lots of time, patience and sensitivity to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd in our hearts. The first step and the secret of listening begin with the words STOP and LISTEN.
To fully appreciate our Gospel today, we need to understand its context. Earlier in this chapter 10 of the Gospel of John, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. A good shepherd loves his sheep. He is willing to do sacrifices and hard work to keep his flock safe and secured. When Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me,” it was presumed that his sheep knew him well. Thus, if we don’t have an intimate relationship with God, hearing the voice of God in the midst of other noises would be very difficult.
The call of our gospel is to deepen our prayer life and be intimately connected with Jesus. It is only in prayer that we could know Jesus the Good Shepherd; and there is no other way of knowing the Father but through Jesus. The more I immerse myself in prayer, the more I understand God’s mysterious movement in my life. And the more I listen to God in prayer, the more I understand myself - especially what God wants me to do. I admit that even in my prayer, I may not totally understand everything in my life; but to hear the voice of Jesus is enough to make me serene – I know that in the hands of God, all shall be well.
Do you have an ear for God? What are your distractions? What are three “unhealthy” voices that grab your attention and distract you from listening to God? Is it the voice of anxiety or anger or hopelessness? Is it the voice of wealth or fame or honor? If we are not familiar with the voice of Jesus the Good Shepherd, we can be easily distracted and enticed by these ungodly voices that longs for our attention.
During the day, it is good to stop for a few minutes, drop what you are doing and listen to the Good Shepherd. Some of the things we do everyday can wait - net surfing, facebook, laundry, shopping, a friend’s invitation for a cup of coffee – but not God. In this busy, chaotic and seemingly impersonal society, the voice of God is too good to be ignored. Jesus the Good Shepherd is calling us to come and rest in his presence; His voice is not only music to our ears – it is music to our souls.
“The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests
and his own are the same” – Stendhal
- Fr.Willy M. Samson, SJ / Blessed Sacrament Parish, Hollywood / April 25,2010