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Gospel for Sunday, May 8: John 10: 27-30

IV Easter C

27At that time, Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life and they will not be lost forever and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all and no one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one”.

John 10: 27-30

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.


“Faith depends on hearing (akoè)” (Rom 10:17). The theme is well present in the Bible: just think that in the Old Testament the word “ear”, in Hebrew ‘ozen, appears one hundred and eighty-seven times. According to Israeli tradition, the Hebrew word ‘ozen, ear, is already significant in itself: it is in fact composed of the letter àlef, which in the Hebrew alphabet represents God in his uniqueness and his Love, from the letter zàyin, initial of the word “nourishes”, and from the letter nu, initial of nefesh, the human soul. The ear is therefore the organ with which “God nourishes the human soul”: hence the importance of listening!

God listens

God is not the transcendent being who remains closed in his heavens, unreachable by human prayers. God “listens to the cry of Israel” (Ex 2.24), “he observes the misery of his people and hears their cry…, he knows their suffering… and comes down to free them” (Ex 3.7 -8).

In the Bible there is a real “theology of the cry (seaqà) of the poor”: the complaint of the oppressed always reaches God and is heard by him; in fact “the prayer of the poor goes from his mouth to the ears of God, his judgment will come in his favor” (Sir 21,5). God hears the cry of the last of the earth: “This poor man cries out and the Lord hears him, frees him from all his anguish… They cry out and the Lord hears them, saves them from all their anguish” (Ps 34,7.18… ). Therefore the poor and oppressed cry out to God to save them: the Hebrew shama’, listening, as well as the Greek akòuo, often also means granting: while God listens to us, he already grants us.

God asks to be listened to

The Word of God challenges all men in the depths of themselves: “This command that I command you today is not too high for you, nor too far from you. It is not in heaven, so that you may say, “Who will go up to heaven for us to take it from us and make it known to us so that we can do it?” It is not beyond the sea, so that you should say: “Who will cross the sea for us to take it from us and make us hear it so that we can carry it out?” Indeed, this word is very close to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can put it into practice” (Dt 30,11-14).

God speaks, reveals himself, but asks to be listened to. “Hear (Shema’), my people, I want to admonish you; Israel, if you would listen to me!” (Ps 8,9). “Be careful, my people, I will speak now… I am God, your God!” (Ps 50.7). Listening constitutes the primary condition for relating to God: “If you truly listen to my voice and keep my covenant, you will be to me… a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex 19.4-6).

Deuteronomy is a pressing invitation to listen to the Word of God: it says one of its passages, which the pious Jew repeats several times a day: “Listen, O Israel (Shema, Israel): the Lord is our God, the Lord is one Alone. You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. May these precepts that I give you today remain fixed in your heart; you will repeat them to your children, you will talk about them when you sit in your house, when you walk along the way, when you lie down and when you get up. You shall bind them on your hand as a sign, they shall be as a pendant between your eyes, and you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your doors” (Dt 6,4-9). And Jesus, to those who ask him what “the first of all commandments” is, replies: “The first is: «Listen, O Israel!»” (Mk 12,28-31).

But from now on listening to the Word of God will be listening to Jesus, as the Father proclaims at the Transfiguration: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him!” (Mk 9.7). And Jesus’ sheep are those who “listen to his voice” (Jn 10,16.27). Whoever does not listen to Jesus does not come from God: “You cannot listen to my words, you who have the devil as your father… Whoever is from God listens to the words of God: for this reason you do not listen to them, because you are not from God” (Jn 8,43-44.47). Listening to Jesus will then become that of the Church: “Whoever listens to you listens to me” (Lk 10:16). Here is the importance of knowing, loving and deepening the Words of Jesus, which the Church transmits to us over the centuries.

“Listen and you will live!”

Listening to the Lord is a source of life, of fullness, of peace: “Pink your ear and come to me; listen and you will live” (Is 55.3; Dt 30.15-20). The Lord says: “Whoever listens to me will live peacefully and securely from the fear of evil” (Pr 1,32). While not listening to God only causes unhappiness (Is 48,17-19). Jesus forcefully reiterates the relationship between listening to God and life, quoting Dt 8.3: “It is written: «Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God»” (Mt 4,4). And he even proclaims the bliss of listening: “Blessed… are your ears, for they hear!” (Mt 13.16); “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice!” (Luke 11:28). Jesus says: “Whoever hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Mt 7.24).

A heart that listens

Solomon is pleasing to God because instead of asking him for power and wealth he asks him: “Give your servant a docile heart (lev shomèa)” (1 Kings 3.9). Our Bibles generally translate “docile,” or “intelligent”; but literally the king’s prayer is to have “a heart capable of listening”, “a heart that listens” (shomèa is a present participle that indicates the continuity of an action).

This is the best prayer: because “listening is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam 15,22). The term disciple (limmud) is a passive form of the verb to learn, to teach (lamad): the disciple is the one who has the Word sealed in his heart: “Let this revelation be sealed in the hearts of my disciples” (Is 8:16).

Many times Jesus made the deaf hear: and a sign of the coming of the Messiah is precisely that “the deaf hear” (Lk 7:22). May the Lord open our hearts to listening to the Word. And in this world confused by so many empty and often evil words, the prophecy of the prophet Amos will soon come true: “Behold, the days are coming – says the Lord God – in which I will send famine in the land, not hunger for bread, nor thirst for water, but to listen to the Word of the Lord” (Am 8,11).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

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