Reflection on the Gospel of John 10:1-10 Fourth Sunday of Easter                    Good Shepherd Sunday: April 30, 2023.

The Gospel of John 10:1-10

Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

(I also included at the end the Gospels of year B and Year C which is a continuation of this Gospel and are the Gospels for the respective Good Shepherd Sundays)

Let us Pray the 23rd Psalm The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen

The Psalm for Good Shepherd Sunday is the 23rd Psalm. The 23rd Psalm takes us through chaos to a calming feeling of peaceful meadows and serene waters. Jesus the shepherd comes when we feel that we are lost, weary, restless, in darkness. By taking our conflicts and making them into opportunities gives God an opportunity to do wondrous things through us.  Our lives in their current state are not an end in and of themselves, as we search for our voice to be recognized by the Risen Christ our Shepherd. Where the world sees hopelessness and despair, we can see Hope for the future. Jesus recognizes our voice and calls us. When Jesus told the parable of the shepherd to his disciples it was easier for them to relate as in the rural country sheep and shepherds were commonplace, but to us today the shepherd can be a strong leader who knows their people and the people who know him. He also made sure they knew that a shepherd is willing to give his life for his sheep. Jesus emphasizes that, in giving his life for his sheep, he is doing so of his own will. It is not just by force of circumstances. His death is to be the living proof that “the greatest love a person can show is to give one’s life for one’s friends”. This is the proof that Jesus truly is a Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd goes before us to prepare the way, which means there is no place that we go that the Shepherd hasn’t already been. He’s already made sure the path is clear and safe. There may be hardships, there may be mishaps, there may be struggles but The Good Shepherd has already seen those and knows how to help us negotiate through the treacherous territory. He has already prepared a way for us to get through. All we have to do is continue to listen to His Voice and follow Him. When we prepare our hearts through prayer and worship, we are able to more fully and more clearly listen to the The Voice of the Shepherd. And when we listen, The Voice of the Shepherd guides us. Listening to The Voice of the Shepherd helps us in making hard choices, choices about who we are and what we believe, and what is really important to us. The Voice of the Shepherd Protects Us. And by listening to The Voice of the Shepherd, He helps us choose. Jesus relied on the idea that sheep instinctively listened only to the voice of their particular shepherd, and no other. This, Jesus implies, is why His religious critics reject Him: they are part of another flock, one ultimately owned by the Devil.                                  The Shepherd also loves those who don’t want to have anything to do with Him. He even loves those sheep who wander away, who are distracted by the little clump of enticing greenery and suddenly find themselves separated from the rest of the flock.  That’s when the Shepherd comes searching for them and brings them back into the fold and reminds them where they belong and to whom they belong. Why? Because The Shepherd loves all of Us. The Voice of the Shepherd is there whispering His love for us. Calling us and bringing us into an ongoing relationship. The Voice of the Shepherd Goes Before Us, the Voice of the Shepherd Guides Us, The Voice of the Shepherd Protects Us and The Voice of the Shepherd Tells Us Who We Are.  All we have to do is tune our hearts and souls and ears to The Voice of the Shepherd. Or as the twenty-third psalm puts it, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

Let us Pray: Loving Shepherd, You love me and watch over me always, in my joys and in my pain. Help me not to be deceived by the world around me. Thank you for the great gift of your love and protection, and for my faith in you which shapes my life. May my heart be open to an awareness of your great love, may we carry that love to those we pass each day who need it the most. This we pray in the Name of the Good Shepherd, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

The Gospel of John 10:11-18 (Year B)

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”one’s life for one’s friends”. This is the proof that Jesus truly is a Good Shepherd.

The Gospel Of John 10:19-30 (year C) There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil.                          Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?  And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. At a time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”


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