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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Fourth Sunday of Easter (A)
1st Reading (Acts 2:14a.36-41): Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: «Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified». Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, «What are we to do, my brothers?». Peter said to them, «Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call».

He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, «Save yourselves from this corrupt generation». Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.
Responsorial Psalm: 22
R/. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
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.
2nd Reading (1Pt 2:20-25): Beloved: If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:14): Alleluia. I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 10:1-10): Jesus said: "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers." Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."

“I am the gate for the sheep”

Fr. Pere SUÑER i Puig SJ (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, in the Gospel, Jesus uses two images referring to Himself: He is the shepherd. And He is the gate. Jesus is the good shepherd who knows the sheep. "He calls his own sheep by name" (Jn 10:3). For Jesus, each one of us is not a number; He has personal contact with each one of us. The Gospel is not just a doctrine: it is the personal attachment of Jesus to us.

And not only does He know us personally, but He also loves us personally. "To know," in the Gospel of St. John, does not simply mean an act of understanding, but an act of adherence to the person known. Jesus, therefore, carries each one of us in His Heart. We too must know Him in this way. To know Jesus does not only involve an act of faith, but also of charity, of love. St. Gregory the Great, commenting on this text, tells us: "Ask yourselves whether you belong to his flock, whether you know him. I assure you that it is not by faith that you will come to know him, but by love." And love is shown through deeds.

Jesus is also the gate, the only gate. "Whoever enters through me will be saved" (Jn 10:9). And a little further on, He emphasizes: "No one comes to the Father except through me" (Jn 14:6). Today, a misunderstood ecumenism makes some think that Jesus is one of many saviors: Jesus, Buddha, Confucius..., Mohammed, it doesn't matter! No! Whoever is saved will be saved by Jesus Christ, even if he does not know it in this life. Whoever strives to do good, whether he knows it or not, goes through Jesus. We, by the gift of faith, do know it. Let us be grateful for it. Let us strive to go through this gate, which, although narrow, He opens wide for us. And let us bear witness that all our hope is placed in Him.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “He enters by the door, who enters by Christ, who imitates the suffering of Christ, who is acquainted with the humility of Christ, who being God, became man for us.” (Saint Augustine)

  • “Jesus promises that he will show the sheep where to find “pasture”—something they can live on. But what does all this mean? Man lives on truth and on being loved by the truth. He needs God, the God who draws close to him and points him toward the path of life.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ (Jn10:1-10). It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd (Cf. Isa 40:11), and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 754)