Fourth Sunday of Easter
The Lord takes us out
“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. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. Jn 10,1-10
The good shepherd of this page of the gospel, which calls the sheep by name and leads them out walking before them, evokes the passage from Genesis where the Lord leads Abraham out of the tent, “But Abram said, ‘O Lord God … I keep on being childless’. Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘No, that one shall not be your heir; your own issue shall be your heir’. He took him outside and said: ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can’. He also added, ‘Just so shall your descendants be’”. (Gn 15,2-5). In this passage from the Scriptures, which has the power to let us breathe in God’s infinite spaces, Abraham is not only brought out of the tent where he is lying. He is taken out of his own limits, his own thoughts, his own sadness, from a life with little sense, from everything a man can believe and hope, and is projected towards cosmic life and hope: “Look up at the sky and count the stars “(Gn 15,5). It is the same way of going out as Peter’s when, in the passage of the miraculous catch of fish, he sadly let down the nets to shore without taking anything, and the Lord tells him “Put out into deep water and lower your nets”. (Lk 5,4). There, the grandeur of the starry sky, here that of the sea: the Lord takes us out of our trifles. Even in today’s Gospel passage, the Lord carries out his sheep from the fen of their own limitations and the banality of a routine life without dreams, without hope, and leads them to graze in open spaces, rich in fresh grass swaying in the wind. But do not send them out on their own, he walks before them. We too have dreams, hopes, great plans to achieve, which the Lord has set for us. Then, let us pray so that he may take us beyond our limits and we make us live them in fullness, hope and joy.