Today we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. As we read the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, the Church invites us to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life; this is also called the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
Sometimes we need a little context to understand the comparisons of the Gospels better. Jesus relies heavily on metaphors of daily life that his contemporaries would recognize immediately. Unfortunately, our contact with nature is often sporadic, and we see sheep only at the petting zoo.
When visiting Israel, you may see a genuine sheep pen. There is a lot of rock around in the countryside. People build sheep pens by putting rocks together and forming a square with walls of about three feet and only one opening without an actual door.
The sheep enter through that opening. A hired person often mans that opening. But when the sheep pen is small, the shepherd himself lays down at the opening, becoming himself the gate.
Jesus refers to a sheep pen like that when he says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep” (Jn 10:9).
The metaphor of Jesus being the door for the sheep is such a beautiful and profound symbol of his role as the pathway to salvation and eternal life. It inspires hope and faith in those who trust in him.
The idea that Jesus is the door for the sheep to enter into heaven is a reminder that he is the only way to reach God. Jesus’s teachings provide us with a route toward redemption and forgiveness. The idea that Jesus is the door for the sheep is a powerful testament to his love and position as our savior.
As Catholics, we believe that the fullness of the truth is found only in the Catholic Church. We believe that being Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or Catholic is not all the same. Only Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.
We can always rely on Jesus to guide and protect us. His love and guidance are a constant presence in our lives, and we can trust that he will always be there for us, no matter what. With Jesus by our side, we can face any challenge or obstacle with strength and courage, knowing that he is watching over us and guiding us on our path. Let us turn to Jesus in times of need and trust in his infinite wisdom and love to keep us safe and protected.
Jesus also says, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10).
The care that Jesus has for us is centered on giving us life, eternal life. That life that comes to us through the salvation of Jesus is not sad and boring. It is abundant in opportunities to love God and those around us. It is abundant in the flood of graces that we receive daily to live our lives filled with Christ’s love. It is abundant in the fruits of the Holy Spirit that proceed from our good works, especially love, joy, and peace.
Let us trust in the love that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has for us. He will always lead us to green pastures. He loves, knows, and defends us at every instance.
The more we trust and rely on Jesus, the faster we will advance in our closeness to him. We will strengthen the security of our salvation, and sooner start living in Heaven while still here on Earth.