Fourth Sunday of Easter
“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (JN. 10:27-30)
When we read this Gospel, we immediately think of the personification of God’s unwavering love for his flock and the power that lies in following Him. When you are a faithful servant, you don’t have to question God’s voice or direction. We are shaped by that familiar voice in our day to day, if only we listen to it. The gospel states that “his sheep hear his voice and know to follow.” There have been many moments in our lives where we have just marveled at knowing that only God got us through a trial or led us to a decision. Some examples that come to mind were when Shara was called to RCIA, not because of any influence or discussion with me, but through her own discernment and conversations with God. I also think of when I was not involved in church during college and how I was led back to reengage and was welcomed with open arms. That decision was made by listening to the voice of God that was instilled in me from an early age and the premise of knowing that I belong to Him. We both followed his voice as we were called to various ministries and to go beyond sitting in the pew and receiving the word. Shara was called to the dance ministry, and myself being called to participate in the Men's ministry at St. Teresa of Avila.
This voice has also guided us through the journey of life and all its peaks and valleys, through marriage, parenthood, and even recently the grieving process. It’s important to remember that God’s voice or call is often not a loud booming voice that rattles your spirit but a whisper of conviction or guidance, and the soul knows. This is what I should do. That is where I belong. So often in life, we are pulled and influenced by society and those close to us. During some of the most challenging times of transition and turbulence, with the Church being utilized as a device for politics and divisive rhetoric, one can question if they truly belong. But when God speaks, we recognize Him loud and clear.
When pondering why we both joined the Church, our reflections differ but are connected by a common thread of belief in God's gift for us. As for myself, a person born and raised in the Catholic Church, it would seem obvious on the surface to be inherently connected to God. But to the contrary, there is a choice made every day to continue to follow this path, especially as I grew from adolescence to adulthood. For Shara, a person raised in a church but not Catholic, she was pulled by the love and warmth shown through the Church. This so convicted her that she desired to become Catholic through the sacraments. Baptized in 2019, Shara entered the Catholic faith. The importance in these examples also comes to life through our children, whom we can hope will one day also learn to hear and listen to God’s voice and follow the flock to salvation. We strive every day to live up to the love and mercy that Jesus has shown us, and often we fall short. But Jesus’ love and mercy are unwavering. Just as the sheep that know to follow when called, we are not easily separated from him. And the reward that we are given for joining this flock is the gift of eternal life. And no one can take that or Him from us.
Authored: Brandon and Shara Cyrus
Members of St. Teresa of Avila Church, Washington D.C,