In the beginning of today’s short Gospel (John 10: 27-30), Our Lord Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. No one can take them out of my hand. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
As we hear these words of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we are reminded that the goal of our Christian life is to become one with Our Heavenly Father. Our Lord Jesus, who is the second Person of the Trinity, is one with His Father, and He has come into our world so that we can live forever as one with His Father in Him.
In other words, God wants us to share in His Life for all eternity. Yet, if we want to share forever in God’s munificent plan then we must listen to the voice of Jesus Christ in the scriptures and the teachings of our Church, and we must live our lives accordingly.
In today’s first reading (Acts 13:14, 43-52), Paul and Barnabas are preaching, but the Jews rejected the words of Christ.
In the midst of this rejection, what does Paul say? “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life we now turn to the Gentiles.”
As Paul reminds the Jews of their condemnation for rejecting the preaching of Christ, let us be reminded that we too can condemn ourselves as unworthy of eternal life by rejecting the truths that God has given to us.
It is easy for us to think we can enter into heaven even while living a life that contradicts the teachings of Christ and His Church. But this is not so!
No, heaven is not easy to attain. In the Gospel of Matthew, for example, Our Lord
says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the broad, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that lead to life. And those who find are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
My brothers and sisters, following our Church and its teachings is to enter by the narrow gate. Our Lord Jesus Christ is Our Shepherd who wants to lead souls through this gate. He wants to protect us from the influences of the world in which we live today that separate us from God and His plan for us! God wants us to be one with Him in His Son Jesus Christ. Yet, if we want to live as one with God for all eternity, we must first be purified of whatever is not of God’s kingdom.
In our world today we hear much about tolerating sin. For example, now that so called same sex “marriage” is legal in our country, the spirit of the world tells us that our Church needs to be more tolerant toward or even embrace immoral relationships.
Yet, let us be reminded that acceptance does not bring souls to Heaven. Only the Truth will lead souls to heaven, and those who knowingly reject the truths of our faith by not striving to change their lives in accord the word of God “condemn [themselves] as unworthy of eternal life” (Acts 13:46).
My brothers and sisters, Our Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He wants to save us from our sins. God sent His Son into our world so that all who believe in Him may have eternal life. Yet, our belief must be real. Our belief means conversion and a change of life!
Our Lord calls us to deny the ways of the world. These ways lead us away from the necessary sanctify that will allow us to live with Our Heavenly Father for all eternity.
Let us ask Our Good Shepherd to protect us and keep us safe from everything that leads us away from eternal salvation. Let us strive to become one with Our Lord Jesus for all eternity by living lives worthy of this great gift of eternal life that God wants for each of us. Amen!
|Early Christian Image of the Good Shepherd|