During my stay in the rectory during the pandemic, I developed a certain fondness with cats. The parish priest and the guest priest started feeding stray cats that roam around the church compound and eventually, their kittens became tame enough to be comfortable with the people around them. One of these kittens was called “Queso” by the priest. Among all the kittens, people particularly liked Queso because he was the most gentle and most intelligent. I dare say intelligent because he is the only one who responds when called by name. He turns his head and approaches anyone who would call “Queso”. As we try to amuse ourselves, we would simultaneously call Queso until he gets confused who to approach.
The Gospel reading for today made me realize that most of the time, I was like Queso – ready to turn around and approach anything or anyone, even distractions. By following my passions and desires, I am easily led astray and become lost. Because of this, I realized that I need to focus and listen only to the voice of the One who truly knows me – the voice of Jesus.
But how will I recognize His voice? I understood that His voice is the only voice that is looking after me and is concerned for my welfare and salvation. All others, especially my own selfish desires, could lead me to ruin. The Gospel tells us that the sheep follow the Good Shepherd because they know his voice. I was such a stubborn sheep but my heart is conquered by the Shepherd’s love. With this, I resolve not to be strayed again by other voices and noises. I pray that His voice may be my only home and guide. May He be my only joy.
By: Sem. Tristan Ralf Q. Pacheco
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”