‘They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’
The answer to that question is really quite simple. The gospel of St. John tells us that Jesus, in His own words is the truth, and that His truth will, “set us free”(John 8:32). However, John doesn’t just say the ‘truth’ sets us free, but rather, the knowledge of the truth sets us free. We must know truth, to be delivered from the hands of lies.
Christ is God, and He is truth. John says in his first epistle, that, “God is light and that in Him, there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) If you’re finding yourself confused over the clamoring of voices in our world today who seem to be pulling us apart at the seams, then might I suggest an answer for you? Know the truth. Know Jesus so well that you cannot mistake his voice. Jesus says that His sheep will know His voice.
We must know truth, to be delivered from the hands of lies.
It’s a sad reality that in the church of our day there seems to be such a divergence of opinion on what truth is, and if there even is such a thing as truth. How hard is it to look at an apple tree and see that it has apples on it? Perhaps the problem in our world is not that the voices who compete against truth are cleverer and more deceptive, but that the sheep simply don’t know the Shepherd well enough to recognize His voice out of the cacophony of voices? We must learn to listen to the voices around us with discernment and recognize them for the fruit they produce.
How hard is it to look at an apple tree and see that it has apples on it?
Hopefully, through your Lenten times of fasting and prayer, you’ve heard the voice of the Shepherd more clearly. The only way to recognize His voice among the others is to be sure you know it – to be sure you know Him. Remember, Jesus said it’s in the ‘knowing’ that we are set free.
To St. Paul, to know Jesus was to know His power, the power of His resurrection. As we approach Holy Week and the high holy days leading us to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, let’s double down on our efforts to hear from Jesus. Let’s devote even more time to the contemplation of His way, His truth, His life. And, may our contemplation give way to implementation, as we let God turn the ashes of our lives and our world into the Beauty of life following the Good Shepherd.
Shalom for a Holy Lent,