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Of Shepherds, Sheep and Sheepgates

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

"Access" and "accessibility" are two words in the business vocabulary of the English language that are also part of theological jargon. In the sin of Adam, the human family lost access to God. When the sacred writer records that God expelled Adam and Eve from the garden, what he was really saying was that the human race would no longer have access to God. From that point on, salvation history records what God was willing to do to restore that access.

Chapter ten of St. John's Gospel is the famous Good Shepherd discourse. Jesus speaks metaphorically of the relationship that we have with God in the image of the shepherd, the sheep, and the sheepgate. All who pass through the sheepgate, with which Jesus self identifies, have regained access to God. Jesus is also the shepherd who leads us through that gate.

Just like the television game show "Let's Make a Deal," life presents us with many different opportunities. However, the real prize is behind only one of the doors, the door that is Jesus. Those who wish to go to the Father can only do so through Jesus, and those who are drawn toward Jesus are drawn by the Father. God is making the effort to restore our access; we must choose the correct door. The world entices us toward other doors and gates, other choices, other perspectives. However, there is only one way. Jesus has told us that he is that way.

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