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16 Jul

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Shepherd’s Voice

Jesus has compassion for the crowds that bombard him. He claims them all with a commitment to teach them many things because they appear to be sheep without a shepherd. I think that many of us can identify with this scenario in Mark’s gospel. Sheep learn to recognize the voice of their shepherd, the one most responsible for their care. Ron Rolheiser presents us with ways to discern the voice of the Good Shepherd. After reading the quote below reflect on these questions: Which voice of God is prominent in your life, is most easily recognizable? Which voice is most challenging? Which voice will I listen to more intentionally?

Among all the voices that surround and beckon us, how do we discern the unique cadence of God’s voice? Which one is the voice of the Good Shepherd?

There’s no easy answer and sometimes the best we can do is to trust our gut-feeling about right and wrong.

But we have a number of principles that come to us from Jesus, from scripture, and from the deep wells of our Christian tradition that can help us.

What follows is a series of principles to help us discern God’s voice among the multitude of voices that beckon us. What is the unique cadence of the voice of the Good Shepherd?

    • The voice of God is recognized both in whispers and in soft tones, even as it is recognized in thunder and in storm.
    • The voice of God is recognized wherever one sees life, joy, health, color, and humor, even as it is recognized wherever one sees dying, suffering, conscriptive poverty, and a beaten-down spirit.
    • The voice of God is recognized in what calls us to what’s higher, sets us apart, and invites us to holiness, even as it is recognized in what calls us to humility, submergence into humanity, and in that which refuses to denigrate our humanity.
    • The voice of God is recognized in what appears in our lives as “foreign,” as other, as “stranger,” even as it is recognized in the voice that beckons us home.
    • The voice of God is the one that most challenges and stretches us, even as it the only voice that ultimately soothes and comforts us.
    • The voice of God enters our lives as the greatest of all powers, even as it forever lies in vulnerability, like a helpless baby in the straw.
    • The voice of God is always heard in privileged way in the poor, even as it beckons us through the voice of the artist and the intellectual.
    • The voice of God always invites us to live beyond all fear, even as it inspires holy fear.
    • The voice of God is heard inside the gifts of the Holy Spirit, even as it invites us never to deny the complexities of our world and our own lives.
    • The voice of God is always heard wherever there is genuine enjoyment and gratitude, even as it asks us to deny ourselves, die to ourselves, and freely relativize all the things of this world.

The voice of God, it would seem, is forever found in paradox.

Ron Rolheiser

The entire reflection can be found here:

In Exile | Saint Louis University Sunday Web Site (slu.edu)

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