Homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A
Theme: The Good Shepherd
By: Fr. Emmanuel Nwokeji.
Homily for Sunday May 3 2020
The Fourth Sunday of Easter in Year A, also known as Good Shepherd. John 10:1-10
The Johannine Gospel gave many account of the teaching of Jesus Christ about Himself popularly called “the seven I am”. The Gospel of today’s discourse John 10:1-10, initiated the 2nd. and 3rd l AM Jesus’ illustration of Himself as the Good Shepherd and the Door respectively.
In this illustration, Jesus used the above metaphors as linguistic expression of what He is in reality to his followers.
For better clarification of terms, let us simply explicate the necessary.
1. Good Shepherd – One who lay down his life for others. He who enters the gate through the door. He doesn’t hide.(Christ and Christ-like).
2. Thief – One who could not enter the sheepfold through the door, but sneaked in from another part of the sheepfold (Pharisaic personalities).
3. Sheep – A domesticated ruminant or cud-chewing animals (Chosen people of God via Baptism).
4. Sheepfold – Shelter for sheep or enclosure for sheep (Shelter for God’s people or the church).
5. Gate/Door – Entrance to the sheepfold.
6. Gate/Door Keeper – A hired undershepherd who recognises the true Shepherd of the flock and open the gate for Him. Assistant shepherd in caring the sheep, especially guarding them at night (Priestly/religiously and married vocations).
The sheep are kept in the sheepfold or pen which had a gate/door through which the sheep enter and leave. The Shepherd employed a door/gate keeper as an undershepherd to guard the gate. The Shepherd whose interest was safety of the sheep enters the door. The thief whose interest was stealing or wounding the sheep would choose another way to attempt the entrance.
Often contacts and availability made both of the voices of the sheep and the shepherd recognisable to each other. Their mode of relationship is directional.
Jesus referring Himself as the Good Shepherd implies the existence of the bad or false shepherds (thieves). He is ready to lay down His life to the sheep, willing to risk His own life knowingly and voluntarily in other to give life to His sheep.
More so, I AM THE DOOR which is the last part of the Gospel 10:7-10 pictured the presence of Jesus as security for his chosen people. Jesus is the entrance to the sheepfold, entrance that leads into the sheepfold for security and entrance that leads to pasture. He is the alpha and omega. Through Him we come into existence, in Him we find meaning to our existence, in Him our existence is secured. Jesus is the sole means to approach the Father, the gateway to guard us.
In culmination, Jesus has come that we might have life and have it abundantly. His presence in our life brings superabundance of a thing. To know and follow Jesus who is the Good Shepherd, the Door, the way, the truth and the life will give vitality to our spiritual, moral and physical aridity.
As gate/door keeper, may God help us to graduate into good shepherds for the continuation Jesus’ ministry. As good shepherds in respective vocations, let us lead others as Christ had led.
Happy Good Shepherd Sunday!
Fr. Emmanuel Nwokeji.