Friends, our Gospel reading today is extremely short, but it is packed with theological and spiritual significance. We hear first of a voice: “My sheep hear my voice . . .” How wonderful and strange that Christianity is not a set of ideas. It’s not a philosophy or an ideology. It’s a relationship with someone who has a voice. The first disciples were privileged to hear the voice of the historical Jesus, its very particular tonality and texture.
But we hear his voice too, in our own way, when we hear the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass. Mind you, we don’t just read the Bible; we hear the Bible. We hear the voice of Jesus too when the bishops and the popes speak. We can also hear the voice of Jesus in our conscience, which Newman called “the aboriginal vicar of Christ in the soul.”
We can hear the voice of Jesus in good spiritual friends as well, in those people who comfort us and challenge us and keep calling us to higher ideals and encourage us when we fall. We listen to Jesus because he is leading us to a renewed and transformed life on high with God.