Choose your language EoF

Gospel for Sunday, April 25: John 10: 11-18


11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. 12The mercenary – who is not a shepherd and to whom the sheep do not belong – sees the wolf coming, abandons the sheep and runs away, and the wolf kidnaps them and scatters them; 13because he is a mercenary and does not care about sheep. 14I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And I have other sheep that do not come from this pen: I have to lead them too. They will listen to my voice and become one flock, one shepherd. 17This is why the Father loves me: because I give my life, to then take it back again. 18Nobody takes it away from me: I give it from myself. I have the power to give it and the power to take it back again. This is the command I received from my Father.

John 10: 11-18

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.


The Old Testament presents IHWH to us as the “Shepherd of Israel” (Gen 48.15): “The Lord is my shepherd…, he makes me rest on grassy pastures” (Ps 23); “You, shepherd of Israel, … guide Joseph like a flock” (Ps 80.2; cf. Is 40.11). God uses men (judges, kings, prophets) to shepherd Israel: but these are often unworthy, mercenaries, and let the flock entrusted to them perish (Jer 23.1-3; Ez 34.1-10). But, at the end of time, IHWH himself will take care of the flock (Jer 23.3), gather them (Mi 4.6), lead them back (Jer 50.19), and finally guard them (Jer 31.10; Ez 34,11-22). To do this, says IHWH: “I will raise up for them a shepherd who will feed my sheep, David my servant. He will lead them to pasture, he will be their shepherd” (Ez 34,23-24). The expectation of the messianic shepherd is born, who “will shepherd with the strength of the Lord” (Mi 5.3): who however will be struck (Zec 13.7), pierced (Zec 12.10), and whose death will be salutary ( Zec 13,1).

Jesus, during the Feast of the Dedication (Jn 10.22), in which, among other passages, chapter 34 of Ezekiel was read, which sings IHWH as the sole Shepherd of Israel and warns against false shepherds, presents himself like the shepherd “kalòs” (Jn 10,11), literally “beautiful”, in the ideal sense of perfection, that is, like the “ideal”, “model”, “perfect” Shepherd: he is the one who has mercy on the sheep without a shepherd and he is the one sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mk 6.34; Mt 10.6; 15.24). He is the “great shepherd of the sheep” (Heb 13.20), “the shepherd and guardian of the flock” (1 Pt 2.25), the shepherd-lamb who leads to the sources of life (Rev 7.17) .

Jesus applies to himself the characteristics of the messianic shepherd who gives his life for the sheep (Jn 10, he repeats it five times!). Indeed, he proclaims himself as God himself (the “I am” of vv. 9 and 11 is the very Name of God!): The sheep are “his” of him (v. 14), they listen to “his” voice of him (v.16). He “knows” them (v. 14: Semitism for “love”), and his sheep “know” him. He is the Shepherd not only of Israel, but of all people (v. 16), the only salvation for all men (Acts 4,12). The Jews understand the enormous theological significance of this speech, and conclude that he is completely mad, “demon-possessed” (Jn 10:20).

What tenderness in the definition of Jesus as shepherd: there is all his agàpe, his providence, his thinking of each of us, worrying about us, knowing our rhythms, preparing calm waters and pastures for us, leading us slowly also in darkness and danger, defending us, recovering us if lost, giving his life for us! What security, what serenity, what peace, what joy must arise for us from the contemplation of this mystery! We are no longer the ones who have to manage and plan our lives. We are no longer the ones who have to find our way. We are no longer alone in danger and difficulty. There is God who thinks of us, provides for us, helps us. Our anxiety, our anguish melts away. And we sing with Ps 131.2: “I am calm and serene like a weaned child in the arms of his mother!”.

Today’s Gospel is also a warning to the shepherds of the Church, who like Jesus must “love-know” their sheep and give their lives for them. Woe if they are only “mercenaries” (v. 12)!

Pope Francis said: “The sins and crimes of consecrated people are tinged with even darker colors of infidelity, shame and deform the face of the Church, undermining her credibility. In fact, the Church, together with her faithful children, is also the victim of these infidelities and of these real “crimes of embezzlement”.

Peter writes in his First Letter: “Feed the flock of God that is entrusted to you … not by force, but willingly according to God; not out of base interest, but from a good heart; not by lording over the people entrusted to you, but by making yourselves models of the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade” (1 Peter 5:24).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

You might also like