“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
This Sunday we celebrated Good Shepherd Sunday. Today we continue with this theme of sheep and shepherd with a little different twist. Today Jesus tells us that He is the gate. Jesus shares a little bit of salvation history saying that many of tried to climb over the fence to get to the sheep, but they were thieves and robbers. Jesus is the gate and whoever enters through Him will be saved.
Jesus is the way to the Father. We are to call upon Him, to follow Him, to believe in Him. And when we allow Him to be our shepherd and we listen to His voice above all the other voices clamoring for our attention, He leads us to green pastures and deep waters.
Good shepherds lead their flock to food that sustains them. Jesus leads us to the Eucharist, the Bread of Life and Cup of Salvation.
Good shepherds protect their flock from the enemy. Jesus protects us from the evil one by giving us the Church, the Scriptures, the Commandments, His grace. When sheep stay within their safety zone with their shepherd they are protected. We too, when we stay within the parameters Jesus has set out for His in the Church, are protected.
Good shepherds look for their lost sheep. Jesus is willing to leave the 99 to look for the lost sheep. He pursues us in love. He is willing to leave everyone just to bring you back because He loves you.
The key for us as sheep is to get to know the voice of the Good Shepherd. We do this through prayer and study. And as we learn to trust His voice, we are called to be docile and obedient to the Holy Spirit, who speaks deep within us.
How many different voices guide me besides the voice of the Good Shepherd?
Do I know the voice of Jesus?
Do I seek Jesus and His will above all else?
Have I allowed one of the thieves or robbers steal my heart from Jesus?