The Gospel according to John (10:1-10)
Jesus said: “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 the shepherd 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, the Pharisees 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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to be convinced to listen to you instead of the “thieves” who often claim they want to help me, because I know that only you want the best for me.
Encountering Christ: There are many image portrayals of Jesus being a shepherd is an endearing image. Many artists have shown Jesus as a gentle and kind man holding a sheep in His arms or on His shoulders. In part, it is this holy image that we put before our mind’s eye to ponder today. This is an inviting image and one that helps us to turn to our Lord, as a child would turn to a parent in need. But though this gentle and endearing image of Jesus as a shepherd is quite inviting, there are other aspects of His role as Shepherd that should also be considered.
I think of the time Jesus carried me on His shoulders, but He became exhausted carrying me because I was too chubby! He said, “Mi Gordito (Chubby) would you mind walking with me?
We have all heard the scripture of “The Lost Sheep”. We have heard the parable when the Shepherd Jesus left the other 99 alone while he searched for the one. We ask ourselves, why would He risk the 99 over the 1? Doesn’t it make sense to save the lives of the 99 over the one lost? Well, allow me to interpret what Jesus would say in today’s language, “Not in my house”! In Jesus’ mind, He knows that the 99 can take care of each other in His absence and it is the 1 who needs the Love, compassion, and guidance to make their lives right.
We can relate this to our society today we tend to ignore the one lost soul, the marginalized, the voiceless, the hungry, and the homeless. In our fast-paced lives, we tend to think of our own agenda. We may suppress our guilt by telling ourselves that I will tend to that person tomorrow. BUT, What if you were that one lost lamb? What if you were that person that needs a hand, a shoulder to cry on, that needs a meal, or just someone to listen to? How would you feel if you saw the same person pass your life and they wouldn’t stop to assist you?
What does it mean to be a shepherd? More specifically, how is it that Jesus most perfectly acts as the Good Shepherd of us all? How can I be a shepherd? A shepherd is sacrificial and being sacrificial is the truest and most accurate definition of love. As Fr. Greg Boyle would say, “We don’t go to the marginalized to make a difference; we go to make us different”.
Though Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” Who gave His life for us all, we must also daily strive to imitate His sacrificial love for others. We must be Christ, the Good Shepherd, to others every day. And the way we do this is by looking for ways to lay our lives down for others, putting them first, overcoming every selfish tendency, and serving them with our lives. Love is not only experiencing endearing and heartwarming moments with others; first and foremost, love is about being sacrificial.
Closing Prayer: Jesus our Good Shepherd, I thank You profoundly for loving me to the point of sacrificing Your life on the Cross. You love me not only with the utmost tenderness and compassion but also in a sacrificial and selfless way. As I receive Your divine love, dear Lord, help me to also imitate Your love and to sacrifice my life for others. Jesus, my Good Shepherd, I trust in You.
Action of the Day: Seek out the “1” and the Holy Spirit will tell you what to do next.