The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday (Option 2) of the Third Week of Easter is John 10:1-10. Note: Option 2 is read in Sunday Mass Cycle B years.

After performing miracles, teaching and confronting the Pharisees a number of times at the Festival of the Tabernacles in Jerusalem, Christ begins the Good Shepherd Discourse by using the imagery of shepherds to describe trustworthy leadership and to condemn false leaders; the shepherd imagery was familiar and powerful because sheep were raised for food and clothing and religious sacrificial rituals were referenced repeatedly in Scripture (Ezek 34).

With strong emphasis (“Truly, truly), Christ uses a mysterious proverb to describe His saving mission and the devious attacks of Satan. The Father (the Gatekeeper) has sent Christ (the Shepherd) on a mission (through the gate) to lead willing men (sheep) from earthly life (the sheepfold; a walled in pen) to the eternal life of Heaven (pasture; abundant life). Christ leads (walks ahead) men (sheep) who follow when they hear the call of Christ (recognizes shepherd’s voice). Christ is the only way (the gate) to salvation (Heaven) and knows and calls every man (he calls his own sheep by name). Men of good will (the sheep) realize that Christ is from God (recognize His voice) and they follow Him (lead and follow) as He calls each man (calls his own sheep by name).

In contrast, evil men inspired by Satan (thieves) through deceit (climbs over elsewhere), avoid the Father (the Gatekeeper) and seek to corrupt men (sheep) through their evil intent (to steal, slaughter and destroy). The Pharisees/false prophets (those who come before Me) are evil men with deceptive and murderous intent (thieves and robbers); men of good will (Christ’s sheep) do not follow (will not listen) to these evil ones (strangers).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ confirms that He is appointed by the Father and is the exclusive way that men can receive eternal life. Divine Prophet, Christ uses familiar ideas (shepherd/sheep) to in memorable ways to teach men about eternal life.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Christ has just condemned the Pharisees as guilty and now calls them “thieves and robbers”; be awed by Christ’s extraordinary courage to speak the truth in the face of murderous men.

2) Despite evil acts by a small number of priests (modern thieves and robbers), the Catholic Church is a sheepfold in which men can find peace, protection and salvation. During Easter, reflect upon the Church as a Universal Sacrament of Salvation (CCC 754, 774-776) and give thanks daily to Christ for His blessed gift of the Church.

3) Christ reveals that He calls each man by his “name.” During Easter, recall the importance of your Christian Name (CCC 2156-2159, 2165-2167) and pray for Christ to help you hear Him call your name each day.