John 10:1-10 Reflection: Abundant Life

A reading from the gospel according to John 10:1-10:

1 Jesus said: “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.
2 But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 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.
4 When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.
5 But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
6 Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
7 So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.
8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.
10 A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Reflection: Abundant Life

Psalm 23 is perhaps the most beautiful chapter in the bible. It talks about the good shepherd who leads the flock to green pastures and who protects it from the valley of death. It is very similar to the gospel reading above except that Jesus claims that He Himself is the gate for the sheep.

Green pasture is a perfect image of an abundant life. No good shepherd will ever bring his sheep to an arid land where they will be starved. That is why Jesus used the good shepherd as His image because He truly cares for us. He wants us to be happy by providing our need for food and security. He wants all of us to be saved. He calls us by name and opens the gate of His kingdom so we can enjoy His riches.

Too bad not everyone responds to His call. Some people hear the voice of the Lord and see Him opening the gate but instead of entering, they run away and follow the thief. A real shepherd may force every sheep to enter the sheepfold but Jesus does not force anyone to follow Him. He respects our freedom of choice. He loves us but He does not force us to love Him back.

It is really a pity that Jesus’ offer of an abundant life is rejected by a lot of people. They are more enamored by the easy but deadly offer of a thief which is the devil. No wonder, when they were given a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, they chose the latter. No wonder, the world now is as it was before. So many lives are stolen, slaughtered and destroyed by sin and injustice.

Gospel Reading and Reflection
Gospel Reading and Reflection

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