Notice three intertwined images in Sunday’s Gospel about the Good Shepherd. There is the image of the sheep, who have such an intimate relationship with the shepherd that they can pick out his voice from among others and follow only him to safe pasture. There is the image of the shepherd, who contrasts himself to false shepherds with voices unrecognizable to the sheep, and who contrasts himself with thieves who come to destroy. There is the image of the gate: It is the entryway to salvation, but it also is a locked gate that keeps the sheep safe from the false shepherds and thieves. Taken together, these images tell us about ourselves. There are so many voices in our lives, voices of friends and family and others whom have a claim on us, like employers or teachers or coaches; voices of ideological news channels; voices of advertisers, entertainers, politicians, voices of those who would harm us by advocating unsafe actions. As Pilot famously asked Jesus: What is truth? How can we hear the true shepherd? How can we separate His voice from false claims on our love and loyalty? And when we do hear and understand, can we be faithful to what we hear and stay within that truth, that “gate” that keeps false truths from taking charge of our lives? When it is at its best, a church and its leaders help us discern the divine shepherd’s voice by preserving and amplifying His words. A church preserves the historical pathway to the best of human life that His words created. A church provides practices that become like walking sticks, helping us stay on the path. And so with all that, we can venture out of the gate confidently and find our way to green pastures. Let us send a special prayer today to God for our Pope and our Church!
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia