In social media we see all sorts of signs, pictures, and because of Twitter and other social media that causes us to say a lot with a little, new acronyms and words have popped up, some have actually become words in the dictionary. Some of these acronyms are now common place like LOL (Laugh Out Loud) or TTYL (Talk To You Later), while there are others that are more recent like, TBT (Throw Back Thursday), but at the end of the day these messages that are being sent out, must be discerned to know what they mean.
4th Sunday of Easter readings (A)
This sort of discernment is what we must do in our relationship with God. God gives us messages and signs everyday; some are obvious and others are not. In order to communicate with God we must always engage in prayer and practice The Gifts of the Holy Spirit in our life which help us to be attuned to God's presence. Sometimes when we receive a message it might need further reflection or thought, in other words, discernment to understand what God is telling or asking of us. Discernment is an everyday (24/7/365) operation in the Christian life, it never stops, sometimes the discerment can be about simple everyday events, sometimes about major decisions or life choices such as our vocation. Whatever the case is, the Gospel is quite clear that Jesus calls us by name which means everyday (admit it or not) the truth is, we are being called!!! We are His sheep and are called to listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd.
Listening to the Good Shepherd will help us make the choices we need to make. Jesus also said that He is the gate, meaning there is a particular entrance, a particular way of life that a Christian is called to embrace. Making the right choices comes only through proper discernment.
Another part of the equation of discernment is asking questions. Even if we should hear the message clearly and understand what it means on the surface, always dig deeper below the surface. For example, I was out with some friends and one friend was helping me navigate parts of the west side of Cleveland that I was not familiar with (native Eastsider! ;-))... during the journey, we were approaching a three-way intersection my only options were left and right and so, I asked my friend which way do I go? He said, "just stay straight." I was alarmed and said, "that's not an option, I'm not intending on crashing into anything!" My friend replies, "I mean, stay in the lane you're in, which turns into the left hand turn lane and turn left." ... In this case, I knew, or thought I knew what, "just stay straight," meant, but in reality it needed further questions to discern. This is like the command to love one another as God loves us; we hear it, know it, but asking everyday how to love is the question that goes below the surface.
God is calling us, everyday, may we take time to listen, discern, ask in order that we may grow closer to Christ and allow our witness to bring others to Christ.