Gospel of Sunday April 30: John 10, 1-10
Fourth Sunday of Easter A, John 10, 1-10
John 10, 1-10: The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Also today I share with you a brief thought of meditation on the Gospel, with particular reference to the theme of mercy.
In the Gospel of John, one of the symbols of the Church is the flock.
This picture is already Old Testament.
God is the Shepherd of Israel (Gen 48,15; Ps 23; 80,2; Is 40,11), who makes use of men, often unfaithful, to shepherd his people (Jer 23,1-3; Ez 34, 1-10)
. But at the end of time the Messianic Shepherd would come (Ez 34,23-24), who would be struck and pierced (Zc 12,10; 13,1.7) .
Jesus in John chapter 10 presents himself as the shepherd kalòs (Jn 10:11), literally “beautiful”, that is “ideal”, “model”, “perfect”
The Nazarene proclaims himself the Shepherd God, with the use for himself of the holy Name of God (“I am”: Jn 10,9.11): he gives his life for the sheep (in Jn 10,11-18 he repeats it well five times), making himself food for them, “bread of life” (Jn 6:35), giving himself totally, allowing himself to be broken and consumed.
Christ saves us, guides us, comforts us, protects us, satisfies our deepest needs, fills our expectations, dissolves our fears, overcomes our creaturely limits.
“Some have objected that in this parable the “flock” or “flock of sheep” is mentioned only once (Jn 10:16).
But also the image of the sheepfold that implicitly runs through it is a symbol of the community” (R. E. Brown).
“The disciples of Jesus are not monads, separated and unrelated to each other, but constitute a community, form a flock, they are sheep that live in the same enclosure, have the same shepherd, they are led out of the fold to be taken to pasture all together (Jn 10:1.3).
In this discourse the term “family” does not recur: however it appears clearly that the sheep symbolize Christ’s disciples, who elsewhere are called by the Master his friends (Jn 11:11; 15:14-27) and brothers (Jn 20 ,17), indeed they are entrusted to the care of his mother (Jn 19,26).
Therefore John teaches with sufficient clarity that Christians form the Church, the family of the Son of God” (S. A. Panimolle).
The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council affirms: “The Church is a flock, of which God himself has foretold that he would be the shepherd (see Is 40,11; Ez 34,11ff), and whose sheep, even if governed by human shepherds, however, they are constantly led to pasture and fed by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and prince of shepherds (cf. Jn 10:11; 1 Pt 5:4), who gave his life for the sheep (cf. Jn 10:11- 15)” (Lumen gentium, n. 6).
“Church is a deformation of the Italian language of the Greek term ekklesia which is composed with the preposition ek which indicates movement from place and the root klesia derives from the verb to call (kaléo): ek-klesia means a «call outside».
The Church is the convocation that the Lord has made by bringing people out… The Church is a people who have gone out, not runaways, but people pulled out. Here is the image of the flock that is pulled out of the fence (Jn 10:3)… Christ takes out, brings out.
That the Church is outgoing is natural according to the name of him; the Church is called that, it is a group of people called out, out, out of an oppressive structure, out of the negative environment of evil. It is the community of people extracted from the domain of evil.
The word Church itself, even if it no longer says anything of the kind, has this reference to liberation in its etymology.
The Church is the community of people gathered and taken out.
Think of the image of exile: they were captives of the Babylonians in Babylon, the Lord intervened and brought the rest of Israel out of the domain of foreigners and brought them back to the mountains of Israel so that they would be free” (C. Doglio).
“We are the flock, the people of God, gathered in unity around the Supreme Shepherd.
The sheepfold collects, guards, preserves from evil, especially in the night, when darkness becomes the accomplice of those who want to raid.
Thus the Church, enlivened by the Spirit, infected by the urgency of Christ’s own charity. In unity, in the one flock, to foretaste the salvific mediation of Christ, the Good Shepherd” (E. Querce).
Gregory of Nyssa said: “If love really succeeds in eliminating fear and this is transformed into love, then it will be discovered that what saves is precisely unity. Salvation lies in fact in feeling all merged in the love of the one true good”.
Good Mercy to all!
Anyone wishing to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, ask me at email@example.com.