Fourth Sunday of Easter

easier road, more immediate pleasure and satisfaction, but these voices are not the voice of Jesus, our shepherd. So amidst the world’s tumult, let us take this opportunity to listen again for the voice of our shepherd Jesus Christ.

The second side to this important passage is the final phrase: ‘I come so that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ This may seem silly in our present situation, confined as we are from the usual richness of life, but Jesus here is referring to a much deeper richness, a fulfilment, a good that will last rather than wither away.

This passage is an important reminder that the grace of Jesus Christ brings genuine and deep happiness, and a happiness borne of fulfilment and peace. So even if we are housebound, or more in demand than ever before, we recognise that our true and ultimate fulfilment comes through faith in Jesus Christ. And when all those good things we enjoy in life are done in light of his grace, what we do have become all the sweeter because we know how the goodness of this world connects with the Goodness of our Creator.

As we begin yet another week under this situation, let us be renewed by these words of Jesus Christ and remember the role our faith in him plays in whatever situation we are faced with. Let us do so, so that when we can finally come together again, we can be once more the living embodiment, for all the world around us, of the joyful Church journeying towards our heavenly homeland.

Today’s Gospel reading is from John 10:1-10, which is a parable of Jesus which the disciples found difficult to understand. I encourage you to read this brief passage quietly at home. Jesus talks about the gate through which we enter his sheepfold. He also mentions the shepherd, who the sheep follow him because they know his voice; they do not follow the voice of strangers but run away from them. When the disciples ask what he’s talking about, he clarifies by naming himself the gate and the shepherd, then the passage ends with the phrase, ‘I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.’

There are two sides to this important passage which are relevant to us in our present situation. The first is that Jesus is the gate. There is no other way to salvation but through him. There is no other name by which we may be saved, than that of Jesus Christ. There is much around us that may help us, that may push us to be better, that may assuage our fears and doubts, or help us to think more complexly about the world around us, but in the end there is no other name by which we may be saved than that of Jesus Christ.

The image of Jesus as the gate connects with his image as the shepherd whose voice we follow. We know his voice, and our faith helps us to recognise his voice even when it is hidden amidst the world’s turmoil. But we must recognise, as Jesus does in this passage, that there are other voices who compete with Jesus’ voice. We are surrounded by a world which offers alternatives, an -

Reflection from Fr. James Barber