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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus explains why his sheep listen to him and follow him. They do so because he is leading them to eternal life.

He says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” The life of heaven, where we “shall never perish,” is that place where death and sickness have no power over us, where we see God face-to-face.

Heaven and earth are always connected in the biblical imagination; that’s true. But heaven should never be reduced to earth, as though religion is just about this-worldly ethics, social justice, or psychological well-being. No; the Christian faith is about a journey beyond this world to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Everything in the Christian life—from our ethical behavior, to prayer, to the liturgy, to works of justice—all of it is meant to conduce to that end. So listen to the voice of the shepherd and follow him wherever he goes.