Introduction: The text of John 10:1-18 presents us Jesus as the ‘Shepherd’ of God’s flock and the ‘door’ access to God. This text follows the previous text whereby Jesus, the good shepherd, contrasted himself with the Pharisees who had expelled from the synagogue the man born blind (9:34). What would Jesus say to the leading figures of today world? This text is a challenge for those who hold positions of leadership in society, pastors, nurses, directors/directresses, mentors, guides, mentors, parents etc.
Thank you for sending us
Your Son, the Good Shepherd
Who gave up his life
To rescue us from the power of
Sin and death and to lead us to
The fullness of life
- Read the text John 10:1-18 read the text slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
- Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
- Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead you to ask for from the Lord?
- Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Don’t say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
- Take now the word, sentence or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word lead you action.
Reflection: The parable of the ‘Good shepherd’ in chapter 10 comes as a consequence of the attitude of the Pharisees from the previous chapter where they could not believe the miracle Jesus did to the blind man and couldn’t recognise Him even with their eyes open, they remained blind. Jesus then told them the parable of ‘Good Shepherd’ to make them understand how much they neglected the people of God and led them astray. The text of Ezequiel 34:1-16 may help us to complete the picture of what Jesus described in his parable comparing the good with the bad shepherd.
Central Message: “I am the gate… I call my sheep, they follow me because they know my voice… the good shepherd is the one who lays down his life for his sheep… I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full”.
a) ‘I am the gate’ Jesus calls himself the gate of the sheepfold; he also calls himself ‘the way’ (14:6). Behind these statements he is telling us that in and through him alone anyone can have access to God, he is the means of entry into the life he offers, even those who are not of this fold, as he assure us: ‘I have to lead them as well’ (10:16). Jesus makes clear that the good shepherd is the one who enters the sheepfold through the gate but anyone who tries to enter through any other way is a thief. Obviously a thief would not enter through the gate because the gatekeeper would not recognise him as a shepherd and therefore would not let him in. So that is why the thief has to find other way to enter, jumping over the wall or maybe making a hole to reach the other side and steal the sheep. His shrewdness will help him find ways to reach his prey. “For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light” (Lk 16:8).
b) “I call the sheep, they follow me because they know my voice” when a shepherd calls his own sheep they recognise his voice and they follow him. He calls them by name because he knows his own and his own knows him. They have a special relationship, a relationship that cannot be compared with any other. They put their trust in him and he will lead them to abundant pastures. He will defend them against anyone who tries to harm them. He will look for the astray and wounded and will carry them in his arms close to his heart because he loves them and is ready to give up his life for them. The thief, instead, will call them but no one will follow him because they will not recognise his voice; he will scatter them for fear of being harm. He will not seek the lost or strengthen the sick or bind the broken but he will slaughter them and eat them (Ezk 34:3-4).
c) “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full”. The criteria to recognise the good shepherd is that he will be ready to give his life for the sheep and be at their service. In other words, it is his deep love and care that bring them life and life to the full: he restored the sight to the blind, he made the lame walk, he cured the lepers, he cured the deaf, he raised the dead, he forgave all their sins etc. He did all these because of his compassionate love, love that comes from God the Father whose love is the fount of life. He will do all that is in his power to defend them from any danger, he will help them to stand in their own feet, he will empower them by giving them strength, courage and wisdom to be able to face the dangers and difficulties of this life. This is already the beginning of the fullness of life that starts here but leading us to eternal life.
Some questions for our reflexion:
- If you identify with the sheep what voices are hearing and which do you follow?
- If you identify with a shepherd what sort of shepherd are you?
- How is it for you to live the fullness of life that Jesus mentions in the Gospel of John 10:10?