The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday Cycle B of the Fourth Week of Easter is John 10:11-18.

After performing miracles, teaching and confronting the Pharisees a number of times at the Festival of the Tabernacles in Jerusalem, Christ condemns the Pharisees and asserts His Divinity in the Good Shepherd discourse (John 10:1-19). Christ introduces the imagery of the shepherd, the sheep, the sheep fold, the gate and the thieves/strangers (John 10:1-10), imagery that was well-known because sheep were raised for food, clothing and religious rituals and were referenced repeatedly in Scripture (Ezek 34); the Pharisees do not grasp what He is saying.

Christ’s response is astonishing. He asserts His divinity using the divine identity, “I am” (gate, Good Shepherd), a reference to God’s revelation to Moses (Exod 3:14). He reaffirms the reality of Heaven (the sheepfold, eternal life). He confirms that He is Son of the Father. He reveals that salvation only comes through Him (“enter through Me”). He reveals that He will lay down His life to save men, a prophesy of His Passion, and has the power to raise Himself from the dead. He reveals that He will build His Church (one flock; sheepfold) that includes non-Jews (Gentiles).

Though veiled, Christ also rebukes and condemns the evil among the Jewish leadership. They are thieves and robbers (v. 1), strangers (v. 5), hirelings who do not care for the sheep and are cowards when confronted by the wolf (Satan). Not fully comprehending Christ’s revelations about Himself and condemnation of the evil among the Jewish leadership, some call Christ insane while others and moved by His miracles and attempt to believe.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ reaffirms His closeness to the Father, the mission the Father has given Him and that He has the power to purposefully lay down His life and raise Himself from the dead. Divine Prophet, Christ speaks in powerful metaphors which draw on culture and religion. Divine King, Christ reveals His coming kingdom.  Divine Judge, Christ rebukes the Jewish leadership.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Return to Christ’s words in today’s Gospel and be astounded by His revelations about who He is, what He knows and the divine powers that He has been given.

2) Christ dies not only for the salvation of mankind, but for each and every man. During Easter, realize that Christ sacrifices Himself not only for all men but for you personally (CCC 606-623) and pray for Him to give you a grateful and loyal heart.

3) Sheep who wander away from the sheepfold get picked off by the wolves; so too, men who wander from the Church are much more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. During Easter, be awed by the mysteries of the sheepfold of the Church (CCC 754,770-780) and pray for Christ to help you remain close to Him in His Church.