One of the greatest leaps forward in modern technology has been these voice recognition services. You can simply say Siri, or Alexa, or Google out and they can look stuff up for you, order things for delivery, even make a phone call. Siri, which is an iPhone thing though has an interesting dimension to it. Unlike some of the others, this device has to be programmed to hear your voice and recognize it. Which makes sense. With iPhones being one of the most popular (if not the most popular) smart phone in the world, being in public spaces and having someone calling out for Siri could result in a lot of confusion as everyone’s device would start to respond. That’s why when you get a new iPhone it prompts you to set it to recognize your voice. You have to say a few commands a few times into the microphone and then it’s set pretty much for the life of the phone.

Hi everyone quick commercial here… Tomorrow, May 5th has been designated #GivingTuesday again as a response to the unprecedented challenges everyone’s facing with the coronavirus pandemic.  We had already cancelled this year’s Summer Appeal, fearing that sending out a mass-fundraising appeal at a time where we don’t know the difficulties that people are facing.  But if you’re looking to donate as part of this global effort tomorrow, we appreciate you considering supporting RedHawk Catholic.  Here’s a donate link from our website.  In addition this week, we’re doing a “Quarantined Catholic” T-shirt fundraiser, if you’d like to donate and get a t-shirt, just go to THIS LINK.  Thanks for all your support and consideration.  My prayers that you and yours are safe and healthy– Father Jim

Building on yesterday’s readings where we focused on Jesus being the Good Shepherd – today the attention shifts to the sheep. As animals, sheep having the attention, the care and concern, being in the presence of the Shepherd for so long – learn to trust him… to the point that they are trained to only respond to their shepherd’s voice. Even when different flocks of sheep would mix together, they would hear their Shepherd’s voice and quickly break into their respective groups simply by the call of their Shepherd.

As beautiful as an image as that is, like any illustration it can only go so far. We’re not simple animals… we’re not computerized devices who’s software is developed in such a way as to follow with the immediacy of a Siri. It’s a matter of our free will to choose to listen, and then to choose to follow the voice of the Good Shepherd. It’s a choice to not let all the other voices that are out there vying for our attention, giving us a variety of paths, directions and prompts to tempt us away from this flock. It’s difficult – we’re constantly hearing messages that make us worry we might be missing out on something; that there’s an easier way that’s more pleasurable.

Jesus very simply reminds us “I know mine and mine know me.” It’s not just a one-way thing with Jesus… this “voice recognition” works with Him as well. He hears our voice, hears our cries, knows our innermost hopes, dreams, and fears… And promises us that if we can tune out all that other noise and recognize His voice – remain faithful and steadfast in keeping our attention fixed on His voice – that we will find abundance of life – here and now and for all eternity.