I AM THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP
(A biblical reflection on THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (Year A], 7 May 2017)
Gospel Reading: John 10:1-10
First Reading: Acts 2:14a,36-41; Psalms: Psalm 23:1-6; Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:20b-25
The Scripture Text
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of the strangers.” This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what He was saying to them.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door, if any one enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:1-10 RSV)
Jesus was a successful preacher because He always talked about topics familiar to people in His audience. Knowing that the most common occupations in His time were fishing, farming, and herding, Jesus told parables about casting nets into the sea, sowing seeds, and taking care of sheep or goats. When Jesus spoke about these subjects, He was sure many of the people listening would relate to what He said.
Today’s Gospel reading contains a parable of interest to herders, a parable in which Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd who has a very close relationship to his flock. The shepherd leads is sheep to green pastures and cool water and he protects them from wild beasts that may attack them. The sheep depend so much on the shepherd that when one of them is lost, it lies motionless and frightened on the ground until the shepherd finds it. Because a shepherd gives names to each of his sheep, he knows exactly which one is missing and begins calling out its name.
Sometimes, several shepherds brought their flocks to the same pasture and let them graze together so they could take turns watching the combined flocks. When it was time to return home, each shepherd called his sheep and they came running to him because they recognize his voice. They would not respond to the voice of a shepherd they did not know.
We are like sheep and Jesus is our shepherd. Just as the shepherd has a very close relationship with each of his sheep, Jesus wants to have a very close relationship with each of us. Just as the shepherd protects the sheep and provides for their needs, Jesus protect us and provides for all our needs. Without Jesus we could not survive.
Prayer: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. In verdant pastures He gives me repose. Beside restful waters He leads me; He refreshes my soul. He guides me in right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for You are at my side. With Your rod and Your staff that give me courage. You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come (Psalm 23 NAB). Amen.
Jakarta, 6 May 2017
A Christian Pilgrim