Good Shepherd Sunday

The Gospel selection for this fourth Sunday of Easter (John 10, 1-10)calls attention to at least these three points. First, Jesus identifies himself as the legitimate guide of Christians; it is he who will lead them to have the deepest desire of their hearts. As John’s entire Gospel suggests, there will be others who claim this legitimacy, and other sections of the Gospel show that some have left Jesus for the words of others. Second, Sheep have only one way to enter pleasurable and peaceful pastures; there is only one door. Jesus identifies himself as this door, this way, through which we reach our eternal happiness - through his teaching and power and through his person and his love for us. Others try to be the way through which we can pass to eternal peace, but they have not the teaching, the power, and, most of all, interest in us - such an interest as can be called love, love to death. Third, this section of the Gospel twice speaks, in one way or another, of the ’sheep as listening for the voice’. Jesus means that in us is an ability to recognize truth from falsehood, good from bad. It is his voice we attentively wait to hear - and once heard, the true, good shepherd will lead us to the fullness of life. Sheep we are not, but we do listen for the voice of our divine savior, for through him and with him, we are convinced, will we reach all we ever wanted. John Kilgallen, SJ

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