4TH WEEK OF EASTER
1st Reading: Acts 11:1-18
The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem the circumcised believers confronted him, saying, ‘You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them.” Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying, “I was at prayer in the city of Joppa when in a trance I had a vision, something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me. Looking intently into it, I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth, the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky. I also heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.’ But I said, ‘Certainly not, sir, because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a second time a voice from heaven answered, ‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’ This happened three times, and then everything was drawn up again into the sky. Just then three men appeared at the house where we were, who had been sent to me from Caesarea. The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying, ‘Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter, who will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.’ As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?” When they heard this, they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying, “God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.”
Gospel: Jn 10:1-10
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 he 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, they 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.”
ABUNDANT LIFE: Where there is Jesus, there is abundance. He says, “I came that they might have life and in abundance” (Jn 10:10). Abundance is a consistent theme in the Gospel of John. At the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:1-12), there was plenty of wine and of excellent quality. At the miracle of the loaves (Jn 6), everyone had enough to eat; and they gathered 12 baskets full of left over. If you are not experiencing abundance, is it because Jesus is not yet there in your life? Abundance is not meant to be material prosperity. But it is an inner state of fulfilment, what the Beatitudes termed, “being blessed,” because I am in the right direction in my life. Abundance is the result of following the voice of the Good Shepherd.
Prayer: Lord, you are my shepherd, there is nothing I shall lack.
A WIDE OPEN DOOR: The Father´s home has many rooms (Jn 14:2) which can accommodate many. There is only one requirement to be admitted at the Father´s house: to be a child -son or daughter of the Father. He is the gate which gives access to the Father´s house. Initially, the first community maintained the same type of segregation and exclusion which existed among the Pharisees. As Pharisees reproached him for mingling with sinners and tax collectors (Lk 15:1-2), Peter tried to avoid the house of Gentiles. Jesus is a door wide open to all. He is not a door which separates people or a security feature to prevent access. Rather, he is an inviting door which calls all people to enter and enjoy the Father´s universal love. Can we close what God has opened, “who are we to be able to hinder God?” (Acts 11:18).
THE ENTRY POINT: In the Gospel Jesus Christ describes himself as the gate and anyone who enters him will be saved and have life abundantly. Salvation implies that people will “have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus uses a metaphor which is common to the people. The gate means an entry point for heaven. Faith in Jesus Christ is the light and gate that lets us enter into communion with Christ. Jesus Christ designates himself as the gater (entrance) to the sheepfold, which is the church. “The Church is accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ (Jn 10:1-10). It is a flock of which God foretold and is at all times led and brought to pasture by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of shepherds who gave his life for his sheep”(Lumen Gentium, 6).