Andy Shannon ’89, ’09 M.A.

Today the Church celebrates Good Shepherd Sunday because of the gospel passage from John. How do we train ourselves to listen and hear God’s call? An encounter I had earlier in my life reinforces how this might be possible.

My professional life has been one of beauty and engagement with young people in several Catholic school communities. Earlier in my career, when I was full of vigor, I served the dual role of teacher and coach. Fulfilling my coaching duties, I mapped out a way to “scout” an upcoming opponent at a local basketball tournament. What I witnessed surprised me!

The gym where the game was held was rocking with noise. The referees’ whistles could barely be heard above the sound of the crowd. Yet, when I witnessed the point guard (the on-floor coach) bringing up the ball, I saw him turn his head every possession to his coach. His coach was inaudible to me and everyone else, but he was speaking to his floor captain and not using hand motions to call his plays. Remarkably, the point guard knew every play to run and the team ultimately walked away victorious.

I came away understanding that the trust displayed between coach and player had been developed and invested in by both individuals on and off the court. And so, I now challenge myself in relation to this gospel passage to cultivate that same mutual relationship between the Good Shepherd and me that was displayed by that coach and player. So, when the noise in my life is too much and the commotion of what is going on around me is pressing me down, I can simply steal a glance at the Good Shepherd and know that God is calling me home.