Monday, Fourth Week of Easter

John 10: 1-10

I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
he will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture.

For the hearers of John’s Gospel the image of a shepherd will have invoked a whole world of meaning. Being in charge of a flock of animals and making sure they survived was not just a job but a way of life. The well-being of your flock and your own well-being were intimately connected.

Today’s Gospel speaks to me of the closeness of relationship that Jesus wants with each one of us. Like a shepherd, he is prepared to go to any lengths to ensure that we are safe and well fed. At its very best this is also a metaphor which the Church uses for leadership. It’s easy to hear this Gospel and see the ways in which the Church has failed in her leadership.

Perhaps today we could apply the metaphor to ourselves. How have we shepherded the people in our care? How have we ensured that people had the ‘food’ and ‘water’ that they needed? How have we brought them to safe pasture?