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Theology for the common man

4th Easter Sunday A

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Jesus calls himself the “gate of the sheep” and “their shepherd” leading and taking salutary care about his flock. Those comparisons, taken from everyday life, serve him very well to explain the meaning of the Kingdom of God open to everyone. A picture of a “flock, "sheepfold”, (a group of sheep pastures upon the vigilance of a good shepherd) and a “gate” through which every day sheep go and come back to pastures is one of those comparisons taken from everyday life. “Whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere are a thief and a robber” because he doesn’t care about sheep; he just wants to “steal and slaughter and destroy”. Those robbers were false prophets and so called those who wanted to liberate (politically) the Israel nation. Jesus instead calls himself a “gate of the sheep” which everyone who belongs to his flock is passing through. He himself appeared here as a doorman and a shepherd who let them through going out and coming back. The sheep listen to his voice because he knows each of them by their names because he died for each of them on the cross. This is why the sheep know his voice and follow him; they don’t follow strangers not knowing his voice; their voice is deceptive and suspicious proper to robbers who come to destroy them. Jesus as the gate and the shepherd of the sheep is the only mediator of salvation in a sense, a gate of eternal life. The last sentences of today’s Gospel speak about it: “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pastures (…). I come so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." St. Peter in his letter points out Jesus in a role of a good shepherd: “Christ also suffered for you leaving you an example that you should follow his footsteps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth (…). By his wounds you have been healed. For you have gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.” Being in the hands of God we can boldly repeat these words of the Psalmist today: “The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want.”