Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
The family of an Irish priest friend of mine kept sheep, and as a boy he had led them out to graze, bringing them home at night; but they never followed him. He had to use a switch on them. So taking a trip to the Holy Land a few years ago, he wanted to see if shepherds over there today could get the sheep to follow them.
He found that they did. Five families with small flocks each, maintained a common sheep fold where their shepherd boys left the sheep penned together at night. Then in the morning, the shepherd boys would each in turn arrive a the gate of the sheepfold. There he would make his own kind of clicking sound, and it would rouse only the sheep of his own flock. Leaving the others to sleep, they would come to the gate; then follow their own shepherd boy up into the hills.
The shepherd boy would have been their for the lambing of each of his sheep, and following his voice was all they would have ever known.
Paragraph nineteen of the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World states that we have a similar life-long relationship with our Lord. “The dignity of man rests above all on this, that he is called to communicate with God, and this invitation to converse with him comes at the first moment of our being.”
Forty years ago wen I was teaching high school here, that Irish priest reported me to the bishop for my lack of stern discipline, but that was before he saw the shepherd leading his sheep without using a switch on them.