Vocation Meditation -
May 15, 2011
"Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers." Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
The image of a shepherd - a good shepherd - is found throughout the Gospels and, indeed, all of Scripture (Psalm 23, Isaiah 40, etc.). It is a powerful witness to God's loving care for each of us.
In today's Gospel, Christ calls Himself both the shepherd and the gate for the sheep.
He makes it clear that we have a role to play in our salvation.
Although He is the good shepherd that will lead us to pasture, we must enter by Him to be saved.
It will take work on our part to see the gate and to strive to reach it.
We are not left alone, though. Christ's voice calls out to each of us, leading us to Him, to the gate, to the life and vocation we are called to embrace.
"Whoever enters by me will be saved..."
Do I recognize that Christ expects me to respond to His voice and to enter into the sheepfold?
O God, I earnestly seek to know Your will for my life. Call me by name and lead me, by Your voice, to the sheepfold, where I may have life and have it abundantly.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.