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Are You The Gatekeeper?

April 28, 2015

Jesus is rebutting the Pharisees today, who have just finished throwing the man who had been blind from birth out of the temple. Finding him, the Lord asks him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (John 9: 35), then confirms to him by adding, “You have seen him, and the one speaking to you is he.” (John 9: 37).  Our eyes, also, have been opened, and we now hear the voice of the true and good shepherd clearly.  And we come to him.

The Pharisees, though, false shepherds, say that they see – so their sin remains.

We are the sheep in the fold, waiting; the people of God listening for the true voice of the Good Shepherd.  We are told all manner of men are to be found in the sheepfold – the Church – but the Shepherd – the true owner of the sheep – will be recognized by his voice alone, and no one may steal that.  So it is with those who are the true sheep of God; they are able to discern the one who speaks with God’s voice. Could he be the Christ?

Then, the Lord shifts gears.  Amen, amen,’ or Truly, truly.  I firmly assure you – I AM.  I AM the gate.  For the sheep, yes – the Church.  But also for the good shepherds.  Wait, I thought Jesus was the Good Shepherd?  And indeed he is.

I have been taught that a sheepfold in those times, merely a low rock wall encircling the sheep to protect them and keep them from straying off.  The “Gate” was merely an opening in that wall, and the gatekeeper would literally lay across that opening. Nothing got out, nor did anything enter without his allowing it.

Jesus Christ is indeed the gatekeeper, guarding his flock until they recognize His voice.  His voice, if we listen carefully, and discernibly, will be that of the Good Shepherd – the shepherd that has the voice of Christ.  We hear that voice at every Mass.  Christ the eternal gatekeeper, ensures who is there for people of God are ones who are speaking in the person of himself.  And so, this past Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday is also called Vocation Sunday, an invitation to those to discern and move forward with a vocation to serve God faithfully and in confidence as a royal priesthood.

We sheep, the Church, have a duty to listen for and respond to the true voice of Christ.  Occasionally, some of the sheep listen to other, convincing voices who are merely false shepherds – like the Pharisees – or false gods – as they embrace other idols like alcohol, drug, food, gambling, and other addictions; relativism, secular apathy, and self-indulgence.  But the true voice is out there still calling for them.  Our part of the vocation plan as laity is to help the distracted listen for the shepherd once again.  Sometimes through prayer.  Sometimes through action.  With the true voice of God leading, all shall always be safely led to pasture.


Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!




Monday, April 27, 2015: Fourth Monday of Easter

Acts 11: 1-18.  God has granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.

Responsorial Psalm: cf. Ps 42: 3a – Athirst is my soul for the living God.

John 10: 1-10I am the gate for the sheep.


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