Fourth Sunday of Easter – May 3rd, 2020
Today is often referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. In Jesus’s time, even to this day, sheep and shepherds were a major part of the Jewish culture. Two important lesions to learn from the Gospel of the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-10):
1. The Spiritual meaning of the sheep gate.
The Good Shepherd, c. 300–350, at the Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome
The sheep gate was important in that it kept the flock from wandering or getting stolen by robbers or getting devoured by wolves. In that sense the sheep gate was protective. It also had the function of letting the shepherd take the sheep out to a field where they could graze, and a stream where they could drink. In other words, the sheep gate allowed the shepherd to provide for his flock. So, Jesus uses the metaphor of the sheep gate as an example to describe who he is. He is the one who protect us and cares for us and he would provide for us. Like sheep left unattended will wander off and get into trouble unless a shepherd keeps an eye on them, we too, when left to our own vices, have a tendency to wander off, getting ourselves into trouble of all kinds. Jesus Christ is the gate protecting us from the power of the Evil One. He is the entry point to our Salvation and into Eternal Life. If we are to be saved, it is through Jesus, who can bring us to God. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).
2. Listening to the voice of Christ the Good Shepherd
Good Shepherd by German Artist Bernard Plockhorst, 19th century
Jesus emphasizes that we are his sheep, if we hear his voice. When we allow the voices of temptation to drown out the voice of Jesus our Good Shepherd, we are headed for trouble. Jesus knows better than we do, and we need to heed his voice. Christ speaks to us in various ways through prayer, Sacred Scripture, and in all those who speak his truth to us. It could be a wise friend, a parent, a neighbor, a saint like Mother Theresa, or someone whose words are wise, just and true.
Let us hear the voice of Jesus, our Good Shepherd. For his voice leads us to Life. Let us also help others hear his voice through our kind words and generous deeds. AMEN.
Peace be with you!