Greetings on this the Fourth Sunday of Easter
Readings: ACTS 2:14A, 36-41; PS 23: 1-3A, 3B4, 5, 6; 1 PT 2:20B-25; JN 10:1-10
Note: Mass for this 4th Sunday of Easter will be done via live streaming.
However, I will not be there this week. Instead I will be assisting Father John Perez at the Veteran Administration Medical Center. Father John asked me to preach this Sunday. It is televised in the VAMC CCTV system but not on the internet. I will be dividing my time between the Guatemalan Mayan Center and the VAMC for the next few months. One really bright spot. I will be ministering the Rite of Infant Baptism at Sacred Heart in a restricted attendance early morning Mother’s Day. Very excited to add to the Body of Christ through Baptism.
You can view the Sacred Heart Mass on-line at one of these two places:
YouTube Link: sacredheartcatholichurchoflakeworth
Facebook Link: sacredheartcatholicchurchlakeworth
It comes as no surprise that gates and gating are a common architecture and practice in the ancient world.
I thought it would be fun to list out a sampling of the types of gates there were besides the obvious category of a gate to a city. There are so many!
|Sheep gate – major entry||Muster gate|
|Fish gate – major entry||Valley gate|
|Dung gate||Spring gate|
|Water gate||Gate of inspection|
|Horse gate||Prison gate|
|Royal gate||King’s gate|
|East gate||Guard’s gate|
|North gate||West gate|
|Closed gate||South gate|
|House or Tribe (name tribe of Israel) gates||Foundation gate|
As Veterans we can particularly relate to the Muster gate. I recall as you do too, how often we were called into action with a Muster command. Quickly you would check your appearance, grab your weapon and assemble at the muster location in formation for inspection. Woe to those who showed up without their weapon! Mustering is a calling account for who you are and how you are in respect to your responsibilities and community.
Mustering we know well.
Being called to account we know well too. On active duty we know what is expected of us.
In our faith tradition we know mustering as:
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
In today’s Gospel reading we begin the discourse of Jesus Christ known as the Good Shepard discourse. We focus on this teaching and revelation of Jesus Christ today through the Sheep gate dialog.
The Sheep gate and Fish gate are the two named gates leading to the Temple area. Unlike the Dung gate, we shouldn’t assume that the commerce of fish and sheep are restricted through these gates. These names are symbolic and religious names invoking the providential care of the Lord. The Mustering gate and Dung gates we may assume have a particular practical purpose.
Jesus uses the practice of gating as a teaching tool in understanding the true path forward and the passage a gate brings about.
Gates then firstly are a place of taking account as already mentioned in the Mustering gate. Gates offer a before and after realization: before I am here and now I am there.
Gates as used by Jesus can be authentic or false.
Gates can have a bountiful purpose or a nefarious purpose.
Gates need to be evaluated before going through them. Just like in the horror movies! You know what I mean. Who hasn’t yelled out, ‘Don’t open that door!’ as the actors play out scenes in a suspense thriller!
Jesus Enters the Gate
Jesus is describing a very important point here. Jesus himself has lived the life in the incarnation. He has faced every important test and temptation of life as we do. He has passed through this gate himself. He bore the ills and pains of the many. He lived without sin. He mustered through the Sheep gate and he is testifying to the account of his life. He is the first to enter the gate of death and to return again resurrected. He therefore is the worthy Shepard. One to be followed.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
There is no doubt he is comparing his behavior to those of the leadership who act as thief and robber by comparison.
Jesus is the Standard Jesus is the Gate
“Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. A worthy one to follow who offers not what thieves offer and not what robbers offer. They offer misery and grief. They steal and slaughter and destroy.
Jesus instead offers life, abundant in this life, security and peace in everlasting life.
He Calls you by Name
Jesus calls you by name and offers to lead you through the pathways of life. He offers as a Shepard the sacred bread for you to sustain you so you may…
have life and have it more abundantly…