The good news for the day, May 7, 2017
Fourth Sunday of Easter (49)
Jesus said: “Here is the truth: anybody who gets into a locked sheep enclosure not by the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief, a robber. But anybody who gets in it through the gate is somebody in charge of the sheep. The keeper of the gate opens it for him; the sheep then hear his voice, as the shepherd calls out his own sheep by name and leads them out to pasture. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, the sheep following him because they recognize his voice. They will not follow a stranger, though. 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 gives it a twist: “Here is truth I am offering: I am the gate for the sheep. Everybody who came before me are like thieves and robbers whom the sheep did not listen to. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, will come in and go out—and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and kill and cause damage; I have come so that people might have Life and have it in more abundant way.” (John 10)
Jesus is trying to tell you truth that lies beyond words. He uses an example common to his time – shepherd, sheep, and enclosure. Again, what is the point?In some mysterious way, access to the peace and joy of the kingdom that He offers comes through Him. But what is the “Him” He means? It is clearly not just that mortal body that was walking around Galilee and Judea 2000 years ago. He is addressing people of all eras. So, the “Him” cannot be the historical Jesus, nor is it our imagination of what he would do today, nor the contradictory images and distortions that we find in various modern Christian religions.
No, Jesus, the Son of Man, is – today – each and every child of our Father-Creator, as “the least of the brethren.” We find the gateway to heaven in people around us. They are the gateway. What we do for one another opens that gate—which truly IS Jesus—and you are following that Shepherd. Our mutual service, respect, and practice of love opens our eyes to hear and see Jesus in our neighbor, in people in need, in the folks who need healing and help.