Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Ps 23:1-6; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10
The main key to our faith is to come to know Jesus Christ, our Savior from sin and Lord of our lives. He is our only path and the gate to heavenly glory as our scriptures tell us. I heard a great present-day evangelist say people don’t want to know Jesus. They “keep him at arm’s length,” because they don’t want to change anything they are doing in their lives. Well, forget going to heaven.
The first reading from Acts, tells the story of Peter preaching to the Jews assembled outside the Upper Room on Pentecost. He told them they needed to repent of the past sins in the Name of Jesus Christ, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. The apostles and disciples baptized three thousand Jews that Sunday.
The responsorial Psalm 23 and Gospel of St. John follow the theme of Jesus as our Good Shepherd. This is another one of those marvelous “I AM” images that John gives us about Jesus. It helps us get to know Jesus and want to be his disciple, guided by the Holy Spirit given to us at our baptism. John gives us two images in Chapter 10. Jesus is our shepherd, affectionately leading his flock of sheep because we hear his voice. We won’t follow strangers because we know Jesus’ love and care for us.
The second image is that of the gate for the sheep pen. Other shepherds have their sheep there for the night. The sheep follow their own shepherd. Jesus is the gate leading his sheep in and out. Jesus is addressing that paragraph to the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem who had rejected him. He calls them thieves and robbers who are not concerned for the sheep. Jesus also speaks of himself that way because he refers to himself in another “I AM” statement as the Way, Truth and Life that leads to heavenly glory.
This week is the 100th anniversary of Mary’s first apparition at Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917, during World War I. She pleaded with us to turn away from sinful and worldly ways and turn to Jesus. Then she asked us to pray her rosary, often if not daily. I think that was 100 years ago and Jesus gave us a new rosary, novena and image because we are in a Third World War, which had been predicted. Many in the world have not repented and turned to God.
Holy Spirit, please guide us to repent of our sins and turn completely to Jesus, our Good Shepherd, so we will be firmly in his flock of sheep and know Jesus personally, not following thieves and robbers. I hope and pray we all want to go through Jesus our gate into eternal happiness with him.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)