The fourth Sunday of Easter is known as the Good Shepherd Sunday. It is a Sunday to
reflect again on what it means when say Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the gate for the
sheep. We can draw inspiration from some of the qualities of Jesus Christ, the gate for the
sheep, to reassure ourselves?
“Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.” (John 10:7)
I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved
Jesus sometimes describes himself in terms of the gate for the sheep. In the New
Testament, three words are used to designate “gate and door”: πόρτα (door), θύρα (gate
or door), and πύλη (gate, portal, crossing, or threshold). In John 10:7, Jesus used the
Greek word θύρα (gate or door): “ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα τῶν προβάτων” (I am the gate for the
sheep). Maybe, Jesus wants to reassure his disciples that he is the safety gate or door
during the thresholds, or boundaries, or crossroads, or portals of certain moments of their
lives. These words of Jesus apply to us during this fourth Sunday of Easter. As we are his
current disciples, Jesus wants us to know that he is the healthy gate, he is the authentic
gate and he is the best gate through which each of us will be saved at the crossroads of
our lives. Jesus said:
“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.” (John 10:1-6)
Jesus describes himself as a shepherd (ποιμήν in Greek) because he calls each of us to
enter life through him, the gate or the door of life. He is the gatekeeper, he is the access to
shelter, he is the one who calls each of us by name, he is the one with the true voice, he is
the one who leads, and he is the one who is caring. If the words “door and gate” refer to
the threshold, boundaries, crossing, crossroads, turning points and watersheds in our
lives, then the Good Shepherd Sunday is a time to reconnect to the true and authentic
Shepherd who leads us to the thresholds of life through which we enter at various times
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly
Jesus calls himself the gate for the sheep because he offers abundant life to each sheep. In
this context, sheep refers to each believer or human person of goodwill:
“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.” (John 10:7-10)
Jesus offers abundant life to humanity in order to protect each person from the “thieves
and bandits” in life who try to use “another way, another voice and another name to
“steal, kill and destroy” the sheep. Jesus, the Good Shepherd invites us to watch out for
those strangers out there who might destroy part of the safe life and protection he offers.
Which Shepherd should we accept?
Now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls
Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, endured sufferings and hardships so that each of us will
stay with him, or at least return to him with the approvals, wounds, loss, and sins we
incur in life:
“Brothers and sisters:
If you endure when you do right and suffer for it,
you have God’s approval.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example,
so that you should follow in his steps…
Christ himself bore our sins in his body on the cross,
so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness;
by his wounds you have been healed.
For you were going astray like sheep,
but now you have returned
to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2.20-25)
Jesus is the caring Shepherd and guardian God sent into the world so that each human
person will turn to him in order to learn to be caring for all the people in their lives.
Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and
God sent his son, Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Messiah of humanity. He is Lord (King)
because he is the Shepherd who makes sure no false shepherd takes control over our
lives. He is the Messiah (Anointed one) because he wants to anoint our lives with good
things. Jesus wants to protect us with the power, might and strength of the Holy Spirit:
“Peter, standing with the eleven,
raised his voice and addressed the crowd.
“Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty
that God has made him both Lord and Messiah,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when the people heard this, they were cut to the heart
and said to Peter and to the other apostles,
“Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you
in the name of Jesus Christ
so that your sins may be forgiven;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Act 2: 14, 36-39)
Jesus promises to use the supremacy and invincibility of Holy Spirit to guard and lead his
people (his sheep). Jesus, the Good Shepherd, wants to protect each human person from
And [Peter] testified with many other arguments
and exhorted them, saying,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized,
and that day about three thousand persons
were added to their number. (Acts 2:40-41)
Given that Jesus offers to be the Good Shepherd to each human person, are we willing to
be members of his flock? Do we accept the green pastures he offers? As a psalmist says:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.”( Psalm 23.1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6)
Are we willing to dwell in the house of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, at all times?
How can we use my conversations to heal the wounds of people in order that the people
may experience the concrete presence of the Good Shepherd? How can we be caring so
that each human person finds in us Jesus, the caring guardian of souls? How can we
provide spiritual green pasture for each other so that this week no one is left in desolate
and arid spiritual state of despair? Let us help Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, to
reassure humanity or believers that he is the safety gate or door during the thresholds, or
boundaries, or crossroads, or portals of certain moments of their lives.