REFLECTION CAPSULE: 4th Sunday of Easter


“Let us do away with any ‘noise’ that prevents us from hearing our Good Shepherd, Who assures us, His constant accompaniment with us!”

(Based on Acts 2:14, 36-41, 1 Pet 2:20-25 and Jn 10:1-10 – 4th Sunday of Easter)

‘Speech recognition technology’ is a technology that has been on for a few years and has been gaining immense use in recent times.

This technology recognizes spoken words and converts them to digitally identifiable signals or waves.

Such a technique is in wide use in various gadgets and instruments…
>> To initiate phone calls, select radio stations or play music from compatible smartphones, MP3 player or music-loaded flash drive.
>> In fighter aircraft, in setting radio frequencies, commanding an autopilot system, setting steer-point coordinates and controlling flight display.
>> Students who are blind or have very low vision can benefit by using to convey words and then hear the computer recite them, as well as use a computer by commanding with their voice.
>> Speech recognizers are also used in video games in order to input various commands and control access

This technique taps on the logic of recognizing the “sound” or the “speech”

Spiritually considering, such a “speech recognizing technique” is vital in forging a close and intimate relationship with the Lord.

The better our “technique” in recognizing the voice of the Lord, the closer will be our relationship…

The Gospel of the Day presents this aspect of “listening” to the voice of the Lord: “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn 10:27)

Jesus presents Himself as the Good Shepherd.

One amazing quality of sheep is that they have the ability to internalize the voice of their shepherd, their master.

The sheep in the Middle East were generally reared for their wool, rather than the meat.
>> This meant that the sheep would be with the Shepherd for quite some time.

A bond of relationship would develop between them.
>> The shepherd would seek to care affectionately…
… the sheep, in turn, would seek to obey its master

>> The shepherd would lay down his comforts to safeguard…
… the sheep, in turn, would look to follow its guide

The shepherd would have a particular speech or voice, that will help to call out a particular sheep…
>> This sheep would, gradually, ‘internalize’ this sound or name and will respond to this call of its loving shepherd!

This is the illustration that Jesus uses to point out that His “sheep will follow Him, because they will recognize His voice” (Jn 10:4)

But we live in a world, where there are often many other “noises” which prevent us from hearing the Voice of the Good Shepherd.

Are we aware of these “noises”?

>> The “noise” of sin which prevents us from hearing the sweet, gentle voice of the Spirit within us…
>> The “noise” of worldliness that causes us to be attracted to the pleasures of comforts and avoid the whispers to holiness and sanctity…
>> The “noise” of discouragements and lukewarmness that makes us be apathetic and indifferent to the needs and service of others and of God…
>> The “noise” of obstinacy and hard-heartedness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit which are transmitted through the Scriptures, the Church Teachings and the inspirations of people and situations of life.

All such noises affect the “speech-recognizing” ability in us, to hear clearly and distinctly the Voice of the Lord.

We need an upgrading of our “speech-recognizing” system…
>> We need a servicing of our “speech-recognizing” mechanism…
When we are willing to open ourselves to the Voice of the Word, we are made aware of the state of life that we are in
>> The proclamation by St Peter on Pentecost Day touched the hearts of the people “who were open to the Voice of the Lord”; they realized that they were in need of God’s Merciful touch…
… “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” (Acts 9:37)

St Peter also reminds that Jesus, our Good Shepherd – though innocent and blameless – underwent a lot of suffering for our sake…
… and constantly calls us to turn away from our wayward ways, and return to Him
>> “He himself bore our sins in His Body on the Cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by His wounds, you have been healed.
>> For you were going astray like sheep; but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (1 Pet 2:24-25)
Yes, the Great Shepherd is waiting for us…
>> He is gently talking to us… He is softly whispering to us…

Let us do away with any “noises” that affect the “speech-recognizing technology” of our spiritual lives…
… and hear our Great Shepherd telling us:
”I know you… you are to follow Me.
I will give you eternal life; you shall never perish.
And no one shall snatch you out of My Hand!” (Cf. Jn 10: 27-29)

God Bless! Live Jesus!
– Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
Bengaluru, India

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ The body is poisoned through the mouth, even so is the heart through the ear.
>> And even if we do mean no harm, the Evil One means a great deal, and he will use those idle words as a sharp weapon against some neighbor’s heart!”

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