Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus declares: “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.” He specifies that he knows intimately those whom he will gather—and that they know him.
A good shepherd will be able to recognize clearly which sheep are of his flock, and the sheep themselves will be able to distinguish the voice of their shepherd from the array of voices and sounds that surround them.
What is it that leads people to accept Jesus Christ? What is it that appeals to them when they read Scripture or they approach the sacraments? We could say that it is only custom or background or luck that leads them to say yes, but I think that something much deeper is going on. There is a resonance when Christ’s voice is heard precisely because the whole world has been wired to hear it.
It’s not unlike the acorn theory of personal development. When a child encounters what they are “meant” to be, somehow it grabs them and chooses them. So it goes with the voice of Jesus. We lost sheep implicitly recognize it and respond.