We were created in the image of God, and we instinctively want to be with the one whom we're most like.

A Reflection for:

Tuesday of the 4th Week of Easter
April 24, 2018

Today's Saint Quote: Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

If you always love one another, if you always uphold one another, you will be capable of...

Today's Prayer:

Lord, may I always recognize You and discover You in every sign You give me all the days of my life. Thank You for opening my spiritual ears to Your voice. Amen.

Today's Readings:

Acts 11:19-26
Ps 87:1b-7 (with Ps 117:1a)
John 10:22-30
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

360VR Meditate on this reflection in our Virtual Reality world "Hidden Water Way" (no special equipment needed).

The sound of the Shepherd's voice

In today's Gospel reading, there's a distinct difference between those who are the sheep of Christ and those who are not. By nature, we all want to follow the Good Shepherd. We were created in the image of God, and we instinctively want to be with the one whom we're most like. More than that, everyone wants a savior who will love them no matter what and who will rescue them from evil when no one else can. But many don't recognize his voice.

"If you are the Christ, tell us plainly," these people say.
Jesus answers, "I told you and you do not believe."

Why don't they believe? Well, why don't we always believe? Our sins are evidence that sometimes we don't really believe that we should follow Jesus. If we always recognized his voice -- and the love behind everything he says, teaches, and commands -- we'd always follow him and never stray into sin. But when we don't understand what Jesus tells us, we doubt it's really him. When we don't like a moral teaching of the Church, we doubt it's really Jesus speaking through the Church Magisterium. And then we listen to false shepherds who give us the words we want to hear, and we follow them.

However, we are the sheep of God's flock. We do know how to recognize the voice of Jesus. We know he is the Good Shepherd and we do want to follow him.

The problem is: We all have imperfect voice-recognition programs running in our ears. Unconsciously, we've been affected by the way humans have modeled (or rather, failed to model) Christ among us. No human person is perfect except Jesus; therefore, every person we've known has imperfectly loved us, imperfectly forgiven us, imperfectly shepherded us -- and we project onto God what we've experienced from others.

The Jesus we think we know is very limited. Has a friend ever let you down? The result is that you probably see (unconsciously) Jesus as a shepherd who can mislead you. Did you grow up in a home where a parent was abusive or short-tempered or too quick to punish? Were you ever treated unfairly by a teacher or priest or policeman or other authority figure? To the extent that these representatives of God failed to convey to you what God is really like, that's the extent to which you believe in a god who is not God.

To discern the difference between false shepherds and the true Shepherd, we need to spend time consciously separating the imperfect image from the Divine Image.

Here's a virtual retreat you can use to focus on who Jesus really is:

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© 2018 by Terry A. Modica
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