Jesus says that his sheep (his followers) listen to his voice and do not listen to the voice of the stranger (Jn 10:4-5). But is it really this simple?

There are only two voices that can direct us: the voice of the shepherd or the voice of fear. It is probably fair to say that most of the time we are directed by the voice of fear. The voice of fear is very subtle and normally presents itself as the voice of reason. It is the voice that calls us to self-preservation, always looking to keep ourselves safe. This is the voice that twists the truth of the Gospel message to validate its message of fear: ‘God wants you to be happy, so there is no point persevering when things become difficult’.

We need to learn to recognise that the voice of the Shepherd is completely different. The Shepherd wants to lead usĀ through our fear to the path of life. The Shepherd never promises us that life with be filled with instant gratification, but rather that he will lead us along a path that will involve facing our fear.

It is important that we recognise the difference between these two voices. Jesus says that the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. This is accomplished in the most seductive and subtle of ways, by trying to invite us to stay comfortable and safe. We need to reject this voice of fear whenever we see it operating in our life. We need to choose to listen instead to the voice that calls us to trust God in the face of an impossible call as he leads us to our true destiny.