In today's Gospel passage (John 10:22-30), Jesus says to his listeners, "My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me".
Although you and I may not appreciate being compared to sheep, it is nonetheless a comparison which gets made a number of times throughout the Bible, and it was never meant to be pejorative. Sheep were noble creatures in Christ's time, and it is merely our own North American bias that equates sheep with mindlessness.
But the reality remains: sheep may recognize the voice of their shepherd, but they do not understand his words.
This is where the sheep metaphor falls down: you and I are not sheep. We are human beings endowed with intellect, thought, critical reflection and so on. Therefore, we do not (nor ought we) merely follow our calls mindlessly.
Most of us in one way or another respond to a spiritual or religious call at some point in our lives. Responding to that call is only the first step, the simple recognition of God's voice, if you will.
Then the real work begins: understanding what that voice is saying to us, understanding why we were called, and what we are going to do to respond to it.
In Matrix terms, first we have to know there is a path, then we have to walk it. Blessings walking yours!
To download the podcast of my sermon on this subject, click here.