Sunday, May 07, 2017

One Flock, One Shepherd

“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, 'John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?" When they heard this, they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying, "God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too." Acts 11:15-18

I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. John 10:14-16

The motif of the good shepherd continues from Sunday Mass into the week. At Mass Sunday, Father Bob talked about what makes a good pen for sheep.

First, there are rock walls built up to keep the sheep inside and the wolves outside. Second, there is an opening so the sheep can pass through in the morning to go out into the pasture to graze and return to safety at night. Third, there is the shepherd acting like the door, keeping the good inside and the bad outside.

Jesus is the door that opens and closes. All who knock, all who are willing to turn away from sin, all who seek to join the flock of God’s holy people can enter through him. In fact, this shepherd goes looking for sheep. (Lost sheep). And he is the only way to enter! He is the way, the truth, and the life. There is no other way to salvation and to eternal joy except through him. He’s the door that opens.[i]

In addition to having a suitable pen for the sheep, the flock gets accustomed to the voice of the shepherd. Once it is imprinted on them, they will follow that voice for years to come.

Jesus is the Sheepgate which opens and closes, which is easy to find and which leads to joy unimagined. But one last thing. This gate is not suspended by hinges that neatly swing open and close. This gate is formed by him who laid down his life, that we might enter. By his passion, death, and resurrection this Sheepgate has been constructed of his Body and his Blood and the wood of the Cross.[ii]

We are the sheep. We are asked to listen. Listen like the Gentiles listened to the preaching. Listen like Peter listened to the instruction not to circumcise the Gentiles. Listen like the Son listened to the Father no matter what.

[ii] Op. cit. 

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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