I am the Gate
"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 the shepherd 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,
the Pharisees 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."
Jesus says in today's Gospel: "I am the Gate." It is a powerful statement. He is the gate, because he is guarding a place that is important, that is attractive. Thieves and robbers have come to pillage the sheep, but Jesus stands in the way.
Jesus is the gate because he stands between us and the Evil one. We live in a world that is full of those who try to confuse and mislead us. Many false voices call out, trying to confuse and trap us. We have to learn to hear the voice of Jesus and follow him.
He is the gate, and he is the way into a wonderful new life: eternal life. How do we get through the gate? This seems to be an important question. If there is paradise on the other side, should we not desire to get through the gate? But the problem is that so many people seem to loiter outside. Others seem to identify more with the thieves and robbers. We want to be like the sheep, safe on the right side of the gate.
So, if the most important question in our life is how to get through the gate, how much time do we dedicate to this? We should figure out how to get through the gate. The first way to get through a gate is to have the key. I think the best key is a true devotion to Mary. Now, some may say that today's Gospel does not even include an appearance of Mary. But I would say that wherever Jesus is, Mary is there also. And if we are learning to listen to the voice of Jesus, we are fulfilling the command of Mary at the Wedding of Cana: "Do whatever he tells you."
If we think of more modern means to pass through a gate, we could think of our fingerprint. Our fingerprint is a wonderful expression of our individuality. From all of eternity, God is waiting for each one of us to come to the gate, to seek entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus did not come to save an abstract humanity, but to save each one of us. We can feel important, knowing that Jesus comes to save each one of us. We are loved and we are unique.
Another way of getting through the gate could be a retina scan. God wants to look at the way we see others. It is easy to be judgmental, to apply our own criteria when we look at others. But it is much more Christlike to look at them with eyes of mercy. We can learn to look at others as Christ looks at us. I think this is really a special gift that he places before us. We can become like Christ.
Jesus is the gate. He is waiting for us, but we have to take the initiative. What are you going to do this week so that when you knock at the gate, Jesus recognizes you and lets you in?