4th Week of Easter, Monday

Readings: Acts 11:1–18; Psalm 42:2–3, 43:3–4; John 10:1–10.

In today’s Gospel Jesus describes himself as the sheep gate; he’s the one who protects those who are inside and he’s the one who lets them leave when they should, which is not necessarily when they want (an experience with which anyone who in their youth tried sneaking into or out of their house can identify). If someone doesn’t use the door it puts everyone on their guard, and rightly so. Our Lord invites us today to consider whether our path is really the best way to accomplish something in our life, whether we’re trying to avoid legitimate obstacles or trying to avoid circumstances, situations, etc., that are disagreeable to us.

Our Lord describes himself in another part of John’s Gospel as the way (cf. John 14:6); he is the way to greener pastures and he is the way to safety and security, the way to a place to call home. If you lose your keys it’s not fun to have to break into your own house. You’d panic if you tried to leave by your front door or your garage and found the doors to be locked from the outside. Our Lord doesn’t lock us in; he protects us, sometimes from ourselves. We can accept his guidance or try jumping through windows or breaking down walls instead of living our lives with Gospel simplicity. If we don’t accept his guidance in the long run we’ll be creating more obstacles to a truly fulfilling life: a life he wants to show us.

Let’s ask Our Lord today to show us how we can live our lives with more simplicity.

4th Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 4:8–12; Psalm 118:8–9, 21–23, 26, 28–29; 1 John 3:1–2; John 10:11–18.

Our Lord describes himself in today’s Gospel as the Good Shepherd. A good shepherd cares so much for his sheep that he is willing to lay down his life for them. A person hired to do such a job would just say “this is not in my contract” and abandon them. Even the owner of the sheep might write them off as the wolf drew close, thinking to himself, “I’m insured,” or “I’ll just need to write this off as a loss on my tax returns.”

The Good Shepherd shares his life with his sheep. He’s not indifferent to their trials and sufferings, so he’s not indifferent to their death. He’d rather die first. That attitude goes beyond just business or even obligation: Jesus says he willingly lays down his life for us, his sheep. He cares about each one of us.

Let’s try to show our gratitude today by letting him lead us in humility wherever he wants to lead us, knowing it’ll always be toward more verdant pastures.