Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that I spoke,
it will condemn him on the last day,
because I did not speak on my own,
but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life.
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
The last few days I have been struck by the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd reaching out to embrace us with the long arms of the Church. Because of His great love for us, God has given us the Ten Commandments through the prophet Moses. These Commandments are not laws that are supposed to take the fun out of life. They are boundaries of love. The Good Shepherd tells us that if you live within these boundaries, I can protect you, guide you, pasture you and love you. But if you go outside of these boundaries, I can’t promise my protection.
That is why Jesus says in this passage, “Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day.” Jesus didn’t come to condemn us; He came to save us. He came not to abolish the law; He came to fulfill it.
Jesus came to us as the Word of God. The same Word that was spoken throughout the ages through the prophets has come to us in the flesh. And Jesus shows us the love of the Father incarnate. Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, continues this image of giving us the Church as the loving embrace of the people. He shows us that if we stay in the Church, place our faith in Him, live in His grace, receive the Sacraments regularly – then He can protect us like the Good Shepherd. If we go outside of this embrace, He can’t promise us anything.
Am I living in the grace of Jesus Christ?
Do I sense the loving embrace of Jesus through the Church and His Sacraments?
Is there anything in my life that needs to change in order to remain in the grace of Christ?
Have a blessed day!