Easter 4 C ~ "Hear My Voice" ~ Susan McGurgan











My sheep hear my voice.


God’s voice

shattered the silence of the void

with a Word.


God speaks and Hope becomes incarnate,

pitching a tent to dwell among us.


God speaks,

and the universe is alive with possibility.


My sheep hear my voice.


Listening for,

recognizing,

and responding to that Word

is our vocation and our ultimate destiny.


Yet,

day after day,

Sunday after Sunday

time after time,

we gather as people

who have become deeply suspicious of voices.

Our experience teaches us to be wary;

to listen with caution—

to sift,

and filter—

even ignore.

So immune have we become to noise,

that we turn the volume down,

or,

in an act of self-protection,

completely tune out the voices

clamoring for our time and attention.


It is as though the Lord has to shout:

Children, dear children, hear my voice!


But how can we?

When bullies

weaponize their voices,

launching them across playgrounds

and down corporate hallways,

sometimes even across the dining room table--

targeting places deep inside

where no one sees you bleed...


When marketers

dip their voices in honey

to sell us cheap (but costly) words that are

Newer,

Bigger,

Faster,

Better,

Sexier—

until it seems that voices and words

have no meaning at all

apart from the image that they sell...


When politicians

wrap their voices

inside banners of patriotism and service

and use their words to

manipulate,

persuade,

distort,

even divide.


Instinctively,

we move to protect ourselves--

we become "hard of listening."


And yet...

instinctively

we also long for the Voice

that calls our name.


I won’t pretend there is a simple answer

but perhaps it begins

by losing our fear of silence.

Perhaps it begins

with the courage to unplug—

just for a moment—

and sit for awhile in deep stillness

to wait upon the Word of God.


Hear my voice! Dear flock, listen for my voice!


Within silence,

there are no hiding places,

no distractions,

no interruptions.


Silence hollows us out

and prepares a conduit

to hear God’s voice--

as we sit before a winter fire,

mesmerized by the flames.

Or when we walk along the beach,

or stand in a field of ripe wheat

just after a summer rain.


We can embrace God's silence

as we work at the kitchen sink

or gaze down into a crib,

watching a miracle sleep.


During Mass,

in the quiet of the consecration,

we can pause,

and listen for the Voice of eternity calling our name,

inviting,


Come! Ease your hunger and quench your thirst!


God's voice searches for us.

We never have to escape our lives,

become someone we are not,

or put on something false in order to hear it.


When we stop to listen,

the Word rushes out to meet us.

God's voice will embrace us


where we are, as we are;

it will heal us;

Free us;

Save us;

Guide us home.


My sheep hear my voice.

I know them, and they follow me.



** I am grateful to Fr. Michael Connors, CSC, whose article, "In the Footsteps of the Good Shepherd", The Priest, pp. 25-31, May 2022, inspired and informed this homily.


I am grateful also to Fr. Jim Schmitmeyer for editing suggestions that helped clarify my thoughts and eliminate homiletic driftwood.






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