Our Shepherd and Our Way

John 10: 1-10
Acts 11:1-18 / Psa 42

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
(John 10:9)

He gives us green meadows to feed,
There’s nothing we need as His sheep;
Be faithful and just let Him lead,
All promises Jesus will keep.

(Jesus said), “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10: 1-10)

Reflection

It may be quite difficult for us to relate to this Gospel passage today because we are not shepherds, or farmers tending farm animals. As businessmen and professionals, our marketplace arena is very much different from the bucolic environment that this parable of our Lord brings to mind. And yet, we who know that our Lord was merely using figures of speech (Verse 6) understand it better than the Jews of His time.

First, we know that thieves and robbers usually gain access through illegal means, and not through the front door. Only Jesus is the true Shepherd, and by His authority and delegation, the Catholic Church which He instituted is the front door (“Upon this rock I will build my church”). Sadly, many members of our Church who do not appreciate the validity of its doctrines are lured into other passages, and without its guidance, they have lost their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. In the solemn concelebration of the Mass during our Brotherhood’s National Anniversary, the main celebrant’s message in his homily was: unless we have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, we can never have a genuine claim in His fold.

Jesus leads us out of the pen. This figure of speech is simple enough to understand. We were all under the bondage of sin, prisoners of ignorance and all forms of worldly attachments and desires. When Jesus came into our lives, we experienced not only genuine freedom, but the healing of our wounded souls. We learned how to forgive, how to trust, to be patient, and to be truly compassionate. He released us from our hatred, our doubts and prejudices, and the false sense of pride and empty ambitions.

Jesus is not only our Shepherd. He also said, “I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn.14:6). Indeed, through Him we have found pasture, as it says in Psalm 23: “In green pastures He lets me graze; to safe waters He leads me” (Ps 23:2). Our Brotherhood is our pasture. In it we find nourishment of our spirit in lively fellowship and common love of God’s Word. In it we have found Truth (“Be Honest”), as well as an abundant life worth living. And this is but a prelude to the real Life that awaits us and gives us hope even in our trials.

Lord Jesus, we rejoice in the hope of Your promise of Life eternal, because You have proven God’s love in our lives in many ways, as manifested in the transformed lives of brothers and sisters in our community. We praise and thank You, Lord. Amen.

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