Homily for the fourth Sunday of Easter - Year A - Jn. 10:1-10
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" «Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.» This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
 
" So Jesus again said to them, «Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and 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.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" «Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.» "
 
Each year, on the fourth Sunday of Easter, that is, today, we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Each year, we read part of the tenth chapter of the gospel of Saint John. Today, we read the first part of this chapter: Jesus tells us about himself, the Good Shepherd! Here the Good Shepherd reveals himself in a parable, which we will try to understand, even if it is not easy, for, as Saint John says, the disciples themselves "did not understand what he was saying to them" (Jn. 10:6).
 
The focal point of this parable seems to be the door, which is the person of Jesus: "I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." This door allows one to go in and out, it is used in both directions, to go and to come, from the sheepfold to the pasture, and from the pasture to the sheepfold. It is a means that must be used. Jesus, who is the door, shows himself here under the aspect of a servant: he is the one through whom one must pass, he is the one who came to serve, and not to be served (cf. Mt. 20:28).
 
" «To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.» "
 
While he is the door, Jesus is also he who goes through the door, once the gatekeeper has opened it to him. What does this mean? Quite simply that, in this parable, Jesus must be considered under two different aspects: the door and the shepherd. If the shepherd goes through the door, it is clear that the door exists before the shepherd. In other words, this means that the door is Jesus who has already come into the world, it is Jesus who dwells in the Church, as he said: "I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Mt. 28:20) And to complete our explanation: the shepherd is Jesus who returns at the end of time to lead the faithful from his sheepfold to the pasture, which is our heavenly home!
 
" «When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.» "
 
As I wrote in my previous homily, eternal life is a life of knowledge: "Father ... this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (Jn. 17:3) Now, eternal life, the very Life of God, can be bestowed upon us, given to us, through grace, only in Christ and through Him, for he alone is true God and true Man. This means that Jesus alone is our mediator before the Father, in order that we might become adoptive sons and daughters of God. Only Jesus gives us the eternal Life of the Father, only Jesus gives us the Life of knowledge, for he alone is our mediator, for he alone enters and leaves by the door: "He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep." But the others, those who are not Jesus, those whom the sheep do not follow, those whose voice is not recognized by the sheep, they are the ones who did not enter by the door, since they are not mediators: "He who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber."
 
" «He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.» "
 
This short sentence makes me think, first, of the following: "Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them... The man gave names to all the beasts..." (Gen. 2:19-20) And then: "To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it." (Rev. 2:17) Jesus, the new Adam, knows us intimately, better than we know ourselves, and, when we enter Heaven, like when we were baptized, he will give us a new name!
 
May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary teach us to recognize and to remain faithful to the voice of Jesus, her Son!
 

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