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Beware of Wolves in Shepherd’s Clothing
Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
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. 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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to be convinced to listen to you instead of the “thieves” who often claim they want to help me, because I know that only you want the best for me.
- Thieves and Robbers: Jesus warned us that there will be people who try to take shortcuts, lie, cheat, and lead us astray. These voices of the culture and the world can be very convincing because, after all, we’re only sheep. But we are protected from these thieves and robbers as long as we follow the Shepherd. His “gate” is the church, where we live out the Ten Commandments, receive the sacraments, and encounter others on the road to heaven. We are safe “out in the world,” and are free to come and go as long as we stay rooted in the truths and teachings of the Church.
- We Are Led: Our Shepherd wants to lead us safely through this life. Whether we recognize it or not, he’s out front, paving our way, clearing obstacles, and setting us up for ultimate success—a life with him in eternity. All that he requires of us is that we hear his voice, listen to him, and obey. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers. Rather, the law of the Lord is his joy; and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
- Abundant Life: Jesus died on the cross to open for us the gate of heaven. We will enjoy eternal bliss with him one day if we’re faithful. In the meantime, however, Jesus also promises us abundant goodness each day of our life. As his followers, we are able to rejoice in an experience of him in prayer, perceive his presence in the beauty of nature, serve him in our family and neighbors, unite ourselves to him in our sufferings, and so much more. What graces he showers on those who believe!
Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for pointing out my weaknesses and littleness as a sheep. And thank you even more for being my Shepherd. You have provided me with every grace I need to sojourn through this life on my way to heaven. Open my eyes even wider to see you more clearly and appreciate the abundant goodness you send my way each day.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will remind myself to stop once or twice to seek your tangible presence in my day and thank you.
For Further Reflection: Regina Caeli Message for May 3, 2020—The Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday) by Pope Francis.
Written by Maribeth Harper.