4th Sunday of Easter, Year A – 2023
The voice of someone is something unique, characteristic of a given individual.
It is perceived as such by the people who hear it.
When Jesus told Peter that, if he could not wash his feet, Peter had no part with him, he could not fail to recognize the tone of the Master’s voice (John 13:8).
John being told to take Mary as his mother, recognized the accent of these words spoken by Jesus on the cross (John 19:27).
Mary Magdalen, near the tomb where Jesus was buried, recognized his voice when he called her: ‘Mary!’ (John 20:16).
The gospel of this Sunday speaks of the Good Shepherd and tells us (John 10:1-10):
“The sheep listen to his voice.
He calls his own sheep by name…
His sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
The two-fold question arises reaching each one of us:
Do we hear Jesus’ voice, and… do we recognize it?…
The spontaneous reaction of many of us will be:
Jesus can no longer be heard now… he is… in heaven…
If asked to explain where ‘heaven’ is… we may feel a little embarrassed.
Some may point up above, showing, uncomfortably, the clouds…
It is obvious that we should NOT expect to hear a definite sound of so many decibels addressed to us in a given pitch.
But this is no indication that Jesus – the Risen Lord – does not speak to us.
Jesus’ personal message to each one of us will be expressed, not in sound, but no less truly, in different ways.
- It may come as the interpretation we make of a remark addressed to us.
- It may be perceived as an inspiration from a thought crossing our mind.
- It may surge gradually from the memory of an event from the past.
- It may be softly whispered in an intuition received suddenly.
- It may be expressed in a genuine impulse to do good.
- It may be understood in a subtle inclination to be more generous.
Of course, we must make sure that the voice we hear is really that of Christ.
The apostle John wrote to the first Christians:
“It is not every spirit that you can trust;
test them, to see if they come from God.” (1 John 4:1)
Then, having recognized his voice, we accept the invitation of the Risen Lord to follow him…
Wherever he may take us, in good times and in bad, assured that he is with us.
Another text is available on a different theme, in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/4e-dimanche-de-paques-annee-a-2023/
Source: Image: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/