A reading from the Holy Gospel - John 10:1-10
"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 the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
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."
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
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 says: "I am the Gate", what an image! "I am (God's revelation of Himself) the Gate" Here at St. Joseph's Formation Center, we live close to an organic farm. I recall once taking a walk in the pasture, there is a gate you had to pass through, it was electrical to keep the cows from pressing through. They were on the other side of the fence and the fence went a very long ways, up the hills to a very high hill where there was a cross. One evening, I was walking with one of our summer staff, we were talking and praying and pondering over things and simply enjoying the beauty on a cool summer evening. As we walked up the pasture in the hills, the cows were following us very closely, just on the other side of the fence, making a 'ruckus.' When we came back down the hill it was after the sunset and it was getting dark so we put our headlamps on to see better, which intrigued the cows who followed us even more closely. I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable as more cows kept moving our direction and staring at us, andI looked for the gate at the bottom of the hill, but it looked more complicated in the night, than it had looked earlier while it was still light. There were several gates, which I didn't remember seeing earlier. The key was to find the gate that we came in through, because that gate was 'safe' one, the other gates had the electrical fence. I looked carefully for marks that were familiar. The gate was actually a very small 'part' of what made up the fence, however it was the most important part, because there was no entry or exit without it. Jesus says: "I am the Gate", He is saying to us, I am the way in and out of the Father's Heart. He is the 'movement' into the heart of the Father, He is the straight way into the Fullness of Love. Do I know "this Gate" enough to recognize it, when other gates are near? At the end of my evening hike , we ended up, by the grace of God, finding the right gate, because there were certain marks we recognized. The same is true for "THE GATE". Do I know Jesus, do I recognize His wounds, the marks of His love for me? Do I recognize His voice?
This brings us to a sweet place, that being; the voice of the Shepherd. Do I know His voice in my heart? Jesus' voice is distinct. These are some of the marks of the Voice, of the Good Shepherd: Gentle, vulnerable, tender, the voice of loving kindness that speaks to us, invites us into conversation/dialogue, He goes to our wounds with us, and asks permission to look there and heal. His voice gives Peace, calm, there is no "flurry or rush" in His way with us, He is totally present to us. He never attacks, never accuses, never berates, never belittles, never condemns, never hurts, never demeans, never shouts, never forces, never says 'I told you so', never is negative. His voice is full of Love, Peace, Tenderness, welcoming us close, it is deep, patient, searching. His voice liberates, releases pain, releases fear, clarifies errors, gives light, clarity, Truth, encouragement. His voice heals, reveals, Loves. His voice leads, fills, beckons, and calls. These are some of the marks of the voice of Jesus. The voice of the Shepherd is Beautiful, it leaves your soul in peace and leaves your soul aspiring for more, more...more of Him and more of Goodness no matter how hard that may appear to achieve, your hunger is spiked for it...for the pursuit of goodness, which is the pursuit of JESUS! Question: Which "gate" are you at right now? Is this the voice you are hearing in your heart?
What is Jesus saying to me right now today? What is calling me to do? What is asking me to Trust? What is He bidding me to release? What is He inviting me to do? What is he leading me to forgive? Am I listening? Am I heeding His voice, the voice of Truth, the only voice to Trust. Do I know the "Fragrance" of the Good Shepherd? His sweet Presence, always has the distinct mark and "Fragrance" of Peace, Love, Freedom, Life! Be close to Jesus so close that He can pick you up, and hold you in His arms, what is He saying to you?
Meditation Point 2
When I was little I would swing on the gate at my Grandmas Farm. I loved to swing on it, because it had 'movement' and I loved movement. Why do we love movement? Perhaps, because we are alive! How alive are you? Do you allow Jesus to move you closer to the Father? This calls for leaving where you are, in order to come even nearer to the Father's Heart. Are you willing to move?