I ran across this story this past week.
A pop quiz was given to a new class of nursing students in the first year of their training. Most of the students did well on the quiz until they came to the last question, which they all left blank. That question was, “What is the name of the woman you see every morning who cleans our section of the school?” The students thought that the question was a joke. But when they got their papers back, every one of them was marked off for that question. They protested. The professor said, “Her name is June. In your careers you will meet many people. All of them are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you can do is smile and say “hello.” The students never forgot the lesson, or June’s name.
Jesus knows each of us by name no matter who we are or what we have done. He died for each of us; not just for a select few. His death and rising gives hope to all humanity. Because he loved us so much, Jesus calls us to love all our brothers and sisters in the sheep fold. I know I am not good at remembering names, but I strive to remember a face and who the person is.
I grew up in a house where I was often called by my brother’s name, thankfully not the cats, but I still knew that my mother and father knew me for me. Jesus is the same way and He does know our names. He calls us by name to follow him. In the sheepfold, no two sheep look alike or act alike. They are all diverse and even when two or three herds are mixed together, each sheep will respond to only to his or her shepherd’s voice. We must strive to hear Jesus’ voice today.
We may not remember the name of the person who gets our coffee at Dunkin Donots, but we can strive to say good morning. The same with the person who checks us out at Price Chopper or Hannaford. If we work in an office, do we know who cleans it everyday? Do the youth know the name of the custodians at their schools? How about asking the postal person who delivers the mail how his or her day is going? The opportunities are endless. We all see the same people everyday because of our routines; but do we really see them? They are sheep of the same shepherd as we are. The people we walk by everyday are the voice of the Shepherd to us and we are the voice of the Shepherd to them
As we celebrate the Good Shepherd who gave his life for us, may we strive to get to know the other sheep of the herd, especially those we walk by everyday. Even here is church, we need to get to know each other because no shepherd ever has just one sheep; he or she has many. May the Good Shepherd open our ears and our eyes to hear his voice in all we meet. May he use us to speak to His love to the world.