(Part 73)


April 27, 2015

Today’s gospel:  John 10:1-10

Now Jesus gives another description of the Good Shepherd. “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.” (v.7). Again, as Jesus our Master is, so should we his servants strive to be.

The sheepfold is where the sheep are gathered for the night and where they are protected. “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.” (v.9). Sheep are very vulnerable. People are too, for there are threats from the world, the flesh and the devil. All humankind belong to God, who created them and who has saved them through Jesus. But there are those who seek to take them from God and from the sheepfold. These “are thieves and robbers” (v.8a). “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy” (v.10a).

Who are these thieves?

  • Christian denominations who take Catholics out of the Church, such as born again groups and evangelicals. Their way of convincing Catholics include trying to picture the Church as idolatrous because we supposedly worship Mary and have idols (statues). These of course are totally untrue.
  • Cults who take Catholics out of the Church, including New Age cults. These might bear Christian names but are not Christian at all. They do not accept that Jesus is God. They might have Christian trappings, but these are just to deceive.
  • Liberal Catholics who no longer actually practice the authentic faith, and who accept such things as contraception, divorce, abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia. Though those they influence, and they themselves, are still in the Church and even serving in the Church, they have actually already rejected the authentic faith and are no longer really part of God’s flock.
  • Reproductive health, gender ideology, homosexualist forces that are assaulting faith, family and life.
  • Satan and his demonic forces, who seek to destroy the Church and all the good that God designed for the life of the world.
  • Servant leaders who do not care for those entrusted to them, in the way that Jesus would.

Jesus the Good Shepherd came to save and to care for his sheep. “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (v.10b). The Church is the sheepfold and Jesus is the gate. Servant leaders are those who help bring in the flock and care for them as Jesus would. They are like “the gatekeeper (who) opens (the gate) for him” (v.3a).

Those who help bring in the flock, especially looking for the lost sheep, are the evangelizers and missionaries. Those who care for them when brought back to God and back to the Church are the servant leaders. They must be aware of all the thieves and robbers around, and by their pastoral care and teaching, help assure that “the sheep did not listen to them.” (v.8b).

Servant leaders of course must strive to ensure that they themselves know the authentic Shepherd and not all the pseudo-shepherds who are thieves and robbers and destroyers. Servant leaders, as themselves part of God’s flock, must know Jesus, hear his voice and follow him. “When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.” (v.4).

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