I can’t hear you.
Just turn it down a little.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.
Spending time with Jesus is a wonderful experience. Over the past few weeks we listened to the Gospels that tell us of the times the disciples spent with Jesus after the resurrection: Time on the road to Emmaus, time in the locked room, and time at the beach. The Acts of the Apostles tell us that: To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. That plus the three years they had spent with Him during the time of His public ministry was a gift.
In spending time with and listening to Jesus we come to a more robust understanding of the kingdom of God just like the disciples of those days.
I had a priest friend who told me that he spent at least one hour every night praying and listening before the Blessed Sacrament. He noted that to most people the time would seem to leave little remaining for accomplishing tasks during the day. What he found was that he actually had more time, was more productive, and did better ministry.
If we look at the cartoon below (thank you Facebook friends), we see a sheep lounging, with iPod headphones on, the radio going, a magazine, computer, and a television. He is so busy, so distracted, that he cannot hear the Shepherd’s voice. He wonders to himself why he hasn’t heard from the Shepherd.
Jesus tells us, My sheep hear my voice. This isn’t something that magically happens. We don’t have an automatic turn-off switch that kicks in when Jesus wants to say something to us. We have to make an active listening effort. We need to set aside the distractions AND the worries and seek Jesus’ voice.
Let’s consider our lives like a radio that needs to have its station tuner adjusted every-so-often. We need to re-tune ourselves. That effort starts every Sunday morning in church. We need to set time apart to tune ourselves in to God’s word and the amazing graces He offers us through the sacraments of penance, His word, and the Eucharist. From there we need to make an active effort to fine tune ourselves each day in prayer, or scripture reading, or some other spiritual exercise (including shutting everything off and sitting down, saying to Jesus, ‘Here I am Lord, ready to listen.’)
If we make this effort we will receive the eternal life Jesus promised, in even greater abundance right here and now, and nothing will keep us from Him.