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Friends, today’s Gospel again presents the image of Jesus as the shepherd who guides his sheep.

How wonderful and strange that Christianity is not a set of ideas. It’s not a philosophy or an ideology. It’s a relationship with someone who has a voice. The first disciples were privileged to hear the voice of the historical Jesus. They heard its very particular tone and texture.

But we hear his voice, too, in our own way, especially when we hear the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass. Mind you, we don’t just read the Bible; we hear the Bible. We can also hear the voice of Jesus through the teachings of the bishops and the popes. We can also hear the voice of Jesus in our conscience, which John Henry Newman called “the aboriginal Vicar of Christ in the soul.” We can hear the voice of Jesus in good spiritual friends as well, in those people who comfort us and challenge us and keep calling us to higher ideals and encourage us when we fall. 

We listen to the voice of Jesus because he is leading us to a renewed and transformed life with God.