Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter also known as Good Shepherd Sunday or Vocation Sunday.
In today’s gospel, Jesus describes the difference between the shepherd and thieves and robbers. Thieves do not enter the sheepfold through the gate but would climb over elsewhere. The shepherd on the other hand, enters through the gate because the gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep know him.
They know and recognize his voice, only his voice will they follow. Jesus is reminding us that first, the relationship of the shepherd and the sheep is rooted in their familiarity with each other.
Secondly, for the shepherds to truly fulfill their vocation to lead and care for the sheep, they need to pass through the gate, which is Jesus himself. Each of us is invited to become a shepherd.
In the 1st. reading, after Peter’s powerful message, the people were deeply moved and asked, “What should we do?” This is the basic question we must ask. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins. We must repent, ask God to forgive us. Has God spoken to you through His Word or through the words of another believer?
Like Peter’s audience, ask God what you should do. If you want to follow Christ, you must repent and turn to God. The Risen one is our shepherd.
The Pastoral letter from Pete, the second reading, reminds us that to be a good shepherd, one must endure suffering as Christ did for the sake of his flock. He was not selfish or neglected his duty. Instead, he persisted and gave everything for the good of his flock. The good shepherd offers everything, He does not believe in half measures.
Jesus opened the gate to heaven through his resurrection. He leads us to the Father. We should focus on Jesus the way, the door, and the life. Do you know Him? He is the gate to the Father. What gate are you using? Is it through Jesus? For Politicians Judges etc, the gate is money, bribes etc.
We need to listen to his voice alone and do what he did.
God’s call includes “sending”. There is no vocation without mission. There is no happiness and self-realization unless we offer others the new life that we have found. God’s call to love is an experience that does not allow us to remain silent. St. Paul says: ‘Woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel” (1Cor 9:16). And the first letter of John begins with the words, “what we have heard and seen, looked and touched – the Word made flesh- we declare also to you, so that our joy may be complete” (cf. 1:1-4).
Our shared mission as Christians is to bear joyful witness wherever we find ourselves, through our actions and words, to the experience of being with Jesus and members of his community, which is the Church. That mission finds expression in works of material and spiritual mercy, in a welcoming and gentle way of life that reflects closeness, compassion, and tenderness. By being a neighbour, like the Good Samaritan
(Lk 10:25-37), we come to understand the heart of our Christian vocation: to imitate Jesus Christ, who came to serve, not to be served (Matt. 10:45)