“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 the shepherd 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,
the Pharisees 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.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus presents Himself as both the shepherd who guides the flock to eternal life, and the gate by which all enter eternal life. This was not a well-received message in Jesus’ day, and neither is it well-received in our day.
In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees regarded themselves as the correct interpreters of the Law. They wanted the people to follow their understanding of God’s will. So, they rejected Jesus, who taught a different message, a message of redemption through following Him, and by His suffering, death, and Resurrection.
In today’s culture, people regard themselves as the correct interpreters of God’s will for themselves. There is no longer the truth, but only my truth, your truth, his truth, and her truth. This is not the message of Jesus. Jesus taught the truth about God, our relationship with God, and how we could be redeemed from sin and reconciled with the Father. Today’s cultural religion teaches no need to be redeemed, because we do not sin, and no need to be reconciled with God, because God loves us and, therefore, allows us to live our lives as we see fit, choosing what is right and wrong for ourselves.
Jesus clearly taught that, in order to be redeemed, we must follow Him. He declared Himself the line of demarcation between those who lived in the light and those who lived in the darkness, between those outside the gate and those inside the gate among the flock. He did not teach, “Do as you please, go whichever way you will, and God will redeem you because He loves you.” Jesus taught, “Follow me! I am the shepherd who will lead all to eternal life. I am the gate, whoever enters through me will be saved.”
Follow Jesus. Enter through Jesus. He is the one by which we are saved. Discard and reject all false teachers and teachings. They cannot save. Reject the temptation to regard yourself as the instrument of God’s revelation and the one by whom you are saved. You cannot save yourself.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.
Health update: people have been asking me how I’m doing. I thought it might be a good idea to give periodic updates on my health. As many of you know, I was hospitalized in March with COVID and pneumonia. That illness pretty much knocked what life was left out of my kidneys. I started dialysis during that hospitalization and have been on dialysis since and will be until I receive a kidney transplant. I am currently receiving dialysis treatments at a clinic four days a week for three hours a day. They’re teaching me how to do home hemodialysis, so the plan is for me to transition to home hemo sometime next month. I am currently using a port in my chest for dialysis. Next month I’ll have a fistula placed in my left arm and will begin using that for dialysis at home sometime in July, after it matures (which takes about two months). The biggest problem I have now is lack of energy. I am weak on many days, especially in my legs. I have been able to return to work and to minimal diaconate duties. The pastors at both parishes I serve have told me to just show up to assist at Mass on days I feel up to it. I have returned to bringing Holy Communion to a couple of nursing homes in the area. I hope to return to the deacon rotation of both parishes in June. Yesterday, I had the great joy of traveling to Murfreesboro and baptizing my new granddaughter. This has involved an incredible transition, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I have come to terms with that fact that this is my life now, until I can get a kidney transplant which, I’m told, takes an average of 3-5 years, unless a donor steps forward. The prayers I need are these: energy to get through the duties of each day; success in learning home hemodialysis; and, of course, eventually a kidney transplant. Thanks to all for your support and prayers. They’re working and God’s grace is getting me through it all.
One thought on “Jesus Is the One Who Saves”
Thank you, brother, for the always outstanding piece. And thank you also for the update. Congrats on God’s ne daughter and I’m sure heavens are being stormed for one of God’s very best. LY!!
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