Commentary for the Fourth Sunday of Easter – Gospel John 10:1-10
In the Gospel of John, we are reminded that the sheep do not follow a stranger but rather they follow the shepherd because they know the shepherd’s voice. In the Rule, Benedict reminds us to “Listen, carefully, to my instructions and attend to them with the ear of your heart.” Listening, tuning in to the voice of the one who gives us life, is very important if we are going to make any headway on the spiritual journey. However, as we very well know, listening is no easy task.
What does it mean to listen, to truly listen? How do we discern God’s voice in our lives from the many voices that cry out around us? God speaks to us and through us in a myriad of ways. Sometimes God speaks to us in ways we expect and, at other times, God surprises us. It is our duty to continually tune our hearts to God’s heart so that we recognize God’s voice whenever God speaks.
Benedict knew that if we want to tune our hearts to God’s heart we must listen daily with the ear of our heart. As Benedictines, our call is to seek God in each person and moment of our lives. As we gather each day for prayer, we tune our hearts to God’s heart so that we will more readily notice God’s voice at other times. As we take time for our Lectio Divina, our hearts slowly grow in recognizing God’s voice when God speaks. Through our obedience to our prioress and to one another, we allow ourselves to hear God’s voice in a way we might not have heard it before. Through hospitality, the tent of our heart is stretched to hear God’s voice in the other and, in that way, our understanding of God grows and so do we.
Christ, the Good Shepherd, came so that we “might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). It is this abundant life that Benedict desired for all who desire to listen to God with the ear of their hearts. As we grow in recognizing God’s voice, our hearts expand “with the inexpressible delight of God’s love”(Cf. RB Prol. 40).
Let us take a moment this evening to reflect on the ways God is calling us to listen. It might be something God is asking of us. It might be that we are called to listen in a way we have never listened before. Or it might be a deeper listening than we have ever experienced before. Whatever the call is for us at this particular time in our lives, let us open our hearts to follow God’s call.