“Those who meet Jesus always experience either joy or its opposites, either foretastes of Heaven or foretastes of Hell. Not everyone who meets Jesus is pleased, and not everyone is happy, but everyone is shocked.” ― Peter Kreeft: (born 16 March 1937 is a professor of philosophy at Boston College. He is the author of numerous books as well as a popular writer of Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics)
Gospel Text: (JN 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 he 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,
they 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.”
Can we hear the voice of the shepherd? Does the cacophony of our daily lives, the constant and sometimes overwhelming flood of input we receive drown out the voice of the shepherd?
Jesus, in today’s gospel passage from John, explicitly condemns the false prophets that came before him as thieves and robbers. In our lives today, we also are exposed to many voices, false gods and goals that steal from us the true path God has for us. Christ is the beacon, if only we can hear his voice, because once we do we can indeed have life and have it abundantly. Abundant life is not found in the voices of the world, once one figures that out for themselves, they will have made a great personal discovery!
Sadly, in the encounter with Jesus Christ in the New Testament, many have been disappointed and “shut out” the voice of Jesus in their hearts: The rich young man who was asked to sell all his property and follow Jesus; the industrious farmer who puts his hand to the plough and longed to return to his profession; the man who had to bury his father first before joining; the man who had to say goodbye to his parents and be with them one more time; the businessman who wanted to build more barns for his produce before dying the following day, etc. There are other examples but all of these individuals were looking for a “God” of their own making as opposed to accepting the True God for what and who He is, a meek and humble servant.
However, Jesus assures us that we can learn from all of this because his burden is light and the rewards are overflowing because these are not based on human standards.
Take courage because God does not intimidate with impossible demands.