In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ followers being referred to as sheep. Christians are used to this kind of biblical language, but for the modern-day hearer who is not tied to a life of agriculture, using the word “sheep” may stir up other assumptions. Today, sheep are often characterized as meek, blind followers, and not particularly bright. Therefore, today’s Gospel begs the question, what does it look like to follow Jesus as the good shepherd? And are you one of the sheep, one of Jesus’ followers?
Obviously, there are no definite answers to these questions. How Christians live out their calling to follow Jesus looks different for everyone. However, the modern-day characterizations of what it means to be a sheep, and therefore a follower of Jesus, are not sufficient. Christians are not called to blindly follow Jesus and assume we are one of the chosen that “shall never perish”. The danger of this way of thinking for Christians leads to life of complacency, comfort, and a sense of righteousness. In the Gospel, instead Christians are challenged to not go into pilot mode but to always be attuned to the voice of the Father. This requires radical alertness and awareness in order to not just blindly follow the Father. How do you stay alert and attuned to God’s voice in your everyday life?