Every weekday afternoon around 5:30 I hear the whistle. My neighbor Bill arrives home from work and as soon as he gets out of his car he whistles. For years his dog Mackenzie sprang to her feet and ran to the front door to greet him, tail wagging.
Mackenzie died this past year and Bill and his wife got a new dog. Bill still whistles everyday. Maddie, the new dog, hasn't quite figured out that her master is home. We hear of a similar dynamic in this week's Gospel.
Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” John 10:27-30
Jesus speaks these words to the Jews gathered at Solomon's temple. As comforting as these words sound they are spoken in an emotionally charged setting. In fact, Jesus' life is being threatened. The unbelieving Jews want to stone Him because Jesus has called Himself the Son of God. Also in the crowd are those who do believe Jesus' claims. These "sheep" know their shepherd's voice.
Do you? This is a very familiar knowing that occurs in the most intimate of relationships. The challenge in today's world is that His voice can be easily drowned out by countless "other" voices. We must intentionally choose to follow our Shepherd's voice.
Just as Bill's new dog is learning to recognize his whistle, you and I must attentively listen for Jesus' voice. When we do and follow Him, Jesus gives us eternal life. Imagine a happily wagging tail for all eternity!