Reflection on the Daily Readings for 5/04/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Mon. Fourth Week of Easter. Acts 11:1-18. Psalm 42:2-3.43:3.4.
John 10:1-10. Lectionary # 279:
Peter’s vision at Joppa opens the door for the Gentiles coming into the
emerging Church after the Resurrection of Jesus. The vision thus is a
revelation given to Peter that all that God has created is good and this
applies primarily to people no matter if they are Gentile or Jew. This is
another preparation text for the activity of Paul whose story soon follows.
Peter realizes that the persons involved are searching for God; because
they have strong faith in what they have heard about Peter and the apostles
they too receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit. The church continues to grow.
Our Gospel from John now presents images about Jesus that are associated
with the role of pastor. Therefore, the gate of the sheepfold, the
shepherds. the porter of the flock are similar to what could be understood
of a Good Shepherd or Pastor. Jesus himself tells his audience that he is
the gate of the sheepfold and that he is the Good Shepherd. It is he who
will protect them with his life and even sacrifice his life for them.
Marauders, brigands, and false shepherds are to be warded off from harming
the sheep. The sheep have learned to listen only to the voice of the
Shepherd and to enter by him who is the gate. We need to listen to Jesus’s
words in the Gospels and also in those who represent Jesus for us in the
role of pastors, spiritual directors, and spiritual counsellors.
We need to study the Scriptures to understand Jesus’ words. In the Gospel
we learn that his listeners do not understand his words and that he has to
explain them just as he did for his own apostles from time to time. The
language of John is considered “conceptual symbolism”. We learn that the
expression of Jesus as “I AM” must be listened to as a key to what he is
telling us. Here he is saying “I am the gate! I am the good, reliable,
and strong Shepherd.” The words are revelatory when we hear or read this
expression “I AM.”
Listening to the word of God and learning what it means comes through our
faith and through the help and inspiration of the Holy Spirit who works
through homilists, pastors, and religious educators. We like the sheep in
the Gospel intuitively know how to follow those who are authentic in their
teaching and preaching. Through them and our faith we hear the voice of
Jesus and we are led into the sheepfold by the Good Shepherd. Amen.