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Of Shepherds, Robbers, and Thieves

Updated on April 26, 2021

“I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.”
~ John 10:14

In today’s 1st Reading (Acts 11:1-18) the Apostle Peter brings a message of redemption and hope to the Gentiles in Judea by way of a vision that he had, one which spoke of this precious and indelible seal of both baptism by water and of the Holy Spirit. Life giving repentance would now be the promise and reality of both Gentile and Jew, and we are told that all on hand glorified God on the heels of this saving message from their effervescent and charismatic Apostolic leader.

In our Gospel (John 10:1-10) Jesus starts off by proclaiming “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,” in this particular instance a thief and a robber of souls. It is of course the false prophets and other assorted charlatans that Jesus is railing against, those who put the fragile, impressionable and vulnerable in peril by jeopardizing their salvation through false teachings and idolatry that are not of God the Father.

“Whoever enters through me will be saved” Jesus goes on to say, explaining that he came so that others “might have life and have it more abundantly” a tricky, even counterintuitive thought in a world that is awash with the proclamation of the false freedom that comes with the aimless pursuit of vice, preoccupations, blinding obsessions and other fleeting pleasures that in turn morph into the shackles of sin, addiction and other assorted trespasses against God.

Today our Church celebrates the 1st Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. The message of prayer, sacrifice, repentance and reparation resonates today every bit as much as it did 102 years ago. Jesus the Good Shepherd implores we his sheep to hear his voice, a voice calling out in the secular wasteland, and to strictly abide by his teachings so that we can not only live our lives, but live them more abundantly.

Surrendering to him brings about discernible change and true freedom, but it takes faith to make that leap. We would all be wise to heed our Blessed Mother’s final recorded words in Scripture, when at the Wedding Feast at Cana she urged the wine stewards, upon explaining that Jesus was her beloved son, to do one very simple thing: Listen to him.

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