Reflections on the Scriptures Fourth Sunday of Easter Gospel A Good Shepherd

By 10:47 AM

 Fourth Sunday of Easter Gospel  A

“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 he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”


In the Old Testament, God is described as a Shepherd and the people were the sheep of his flock. (Ps 23)  Later on Exzekiel the Prophet likened God to a Shepherd who was displeased with those who were not shepherding his people but using them for their benefit. God revealed that he would remove the wicked shepherds and pasture his people himself. (Ez 34) This happens through the person of Jesus, who here likens himself to the Good Shepherd who will properly care for the flock of God.

· God knows us by name and calls us to follow him. Does that truth make us feel special? Spend some time reflecting on this revelation.

 “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." 

· It is a known fact that sheep are able to distinguish between the voice of the Shepherd and that of a stranger Do we know how to distinguish the voice of God from that of another? 

Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. 

· Shepherding was a common occupation in Palestine at the time. Even so, the people hearing Jesus could not easily connect to the message he was giving them. Why?

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. 

· Jesus changes the metaphor with the intention of making clearer his message. He equates himself to the gate.  When the Shepherd takes his sheep to pasture, spending nights with them away from their normal, secure enclosure, he would sleep in front of the enclosure to block it from any intruders. He is ready to defend his sheep with his life if necessary.

· “I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” There is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ. In him is the fullness of life. What does that say to you?

· If I want to experience this abundant life, what would Jesus want me to do? Do I manifest this abundant life in my words and actions?

· What in this reading touched your life in a very special way? How have I experienced Jesus personally speaking to me and caring for me? How have I responded?

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