Blog # 365 The Gate
The Biblical background for this blog has been for me John 10: 1 - 21. For Jesus to proclaim himself as the sheep gate is to proclaim himself as the way to the Father. He alone in all of creation is Emanuel, God, walking, talking, eating, sleeping, suffering, rejoicing, and dying in the humanity of Jesus. The image of Jesus as Gate is a powerful one and specifically different from the image of him as Shepherd. As shepherd He might be seen as one among others, as a role model or
source of good example, but as the gate He is unique. There is no other. It is similar to His expression identifying Himself : "I am the Way". (Jn. 14: 6).
An appropriate response to the claim or testimony of Jesus that He is the Gate is to believe. We believe that in Him we have found the way. In Him is our meaning and goal, the Father's House, eternal life. An appropriate response to the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is to love. To make it possible for us not merely to receive God's love but to share it, Jesus, as an expression of His unconditional obedient love for the Father, lay down His life for us, gave all that He possessed. There is no greater love than this. The appropriate response to love is love.
All of creation is God's gift, an expression of God's love. In creation God's love is majestic and awesome. In Jesus it is expressed in human dimensions as well. In Jesus , our Good shepherd, it is warm and close. In it we are safe from harm.
My first suggestion calls us to a greater appreciation of who Jesus is, and of His great love for us. Our response here is to grow in our faith and our love for Jesus.
My second suggestion is that we reflect upon the fact that through faith and Baptism we are united with Jesus as branches on a vine, sharing in some way a common life. ( Jn. 15: 5; 17: 32 ). As a consequence of this, Jesus could say "As you, Father, have sent me into the world so I have sent them into the world". And "Such as my love has been for you (my disciples) , so must your love be for each other." (Jn. 13: 34).
Sent by the Father, Jesus sends us. As He has loved us we are to love one another. Jesus was sent to be the Sheep Gate and the Good Shepherd. We are sent in our own limited and unique way to be the same. We are called, entitled, and empowered to love with the Good Shepherd's love in our hearts, to lay down our lives for one another, inch by inch, hour by hour, or all at once on a Cross if that be the Father's call!
We should be striving to realize and appreciate ever more deeply the personal relationship between ourselves and the Resurrected Jesus that all of us who are Baptized, individually and as a community, the Church, are called to experience and to enjoy. Like the sun shining on all of us individually, the love of Jesus is poured out on us individually by the Holy Spirit ( won for us in the death and Resurrection of Jesus). God loves no one else in the exact same way He loves each of us. No one in all the world, past, present, or in the years to come has our love to give to God and from God in us for those around us.
We are that precious to God and to whatever part, small as it might be, of the entire world that touches us in some unique way and calls us to be a messenger and expression of God's love in us! By way of analogy, when we first learned to spell CAT our teacher began to live in us. So, when we unite ourselves with Jesus through faith and Baptism He begins to live in us. We are identified with Jesus as the Way to Heaven's glory. Walking with Him in obedience to the Father's will we are identified with Him as the Good Shepherd. What a vision. Thank You, Jesus!
From St. Teresa of Calcutta: "God loves you. Love one another as He loves you. Love is sharing. Love is giving the best we have. We are carriers of God's love and whoever you are, you can become one also."