“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.”
10:1 the sheepfold: Probably a stone wall enclosure with a single entryway, used to protect flocks at night from thieves and predators. Only the shepherd would be recognized and admitted by the designated gatekeeper (10:3). The whole illustration gives a realistic portrayal of pastoral conditions in ancient Palestine (10:1–16).
10:3 calls … by name: A mark of intimacy and familiarity (Is 43:1; 49:1). leads them out: To graze and find pasture (10:9). The sheep are disciples who hear the voice of Jesus and follow him wherever he goes. ● The expression “to lead out” recalls how Joshua was appointed to lead Israel out of the wilderness (Num 27:17) and how Yahweh promised to recover the lost sheep of Israel by leading them out of their exile among the nations (Ezek 34:13).
10:6 they did not understand: The Pharisees, who are blind to the spiritual dimension of Jesus’ teaching (9:39–41).
10:8 All who came before: Refers to the shepherds of Israel, many of whom were denounced by the prophets as worthless and evil (Jer 23:1–3; Ezek 34:1–10; Zech 11:17). The Pharisees are their spiritual descendants (Mt 23:29–36).
10:10 have life: Divine life.
Today’s Gospel presents one of the most enduring and endearing images of Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd who guides and lays down his life for his sheep. How wonderful and strange that Christianity is not a set of ideas. It’s not a philosophy or an ideology. It’s a relationship with someone who has a voice. The first disciples were privileged to hear the voice of the historical Jesus. They heard its very particular tone and texture.
But we hear his voice too in our own way, especially when we hear the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass. Mind you, we don’t just read the Bible; we hear the Bible. We also hear the voice of Jesus when the bishops and the Popes speak. We can also hear the voice of Jesus in the conscience, which Newman called “the aboriginal vicar of Christ in the soul.” We can hear the voice of Jesus in good spiritual friends as well, in those people who comfort us and challenge us and keep calling us to higher ideals and encourage us when we fall.
We listen to the voice of Jesus because he is leading us to a renewed and transformed life with God.
– Bishop Robert Barron
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.