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Fourth Sunday of Easter – The reading is from the Gospel John 10:1-21.

The Good Shepherd – John 10:1-21

“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.

I am the good shepherd.

A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.

I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.

This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.

No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”

Again there was a division among the Jews because of these words.

Many of them said, “He is possessed and out of his mind; why listen to him?”

Others said, “These are not the words of one possessed; surely a demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”

The theme of attack on the Pharisees that ends in John 9 continues in this “Good Shepherd” discourse (John 10:1–21).

The figure of the shepherd is allegorical.

  • A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. (John 10:12-13)

The ‘hired man’ are the Pharisees who excommunicated the cured blind man. It serves as a commentary on John 9.

For the shepherd motif, see these in the Old Testament:

Then he blessed them with these words:
“May the God in whose presence
my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has been my shepherd
from my birth to this day, (Genesis 48:15)

But his bow remained taut,
and his arms were nimble,
By the power of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, (Genesis 49:24)

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your heritage,
That lives apartg in a woodland,
in the midst of an orchard.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old; (Micah 7:14)

O Shepherd of Israel, lend an ear,
you who guide Joseph like a flock!
Seated upon the cherubim, shine forth. (Psalms 80:2)

A psalm of David – Psalms 23

The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.

In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;

he restores my soul.
He guides me along right paths
for the sake of his name.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,c
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.

You set a table before me
in front of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORDf
for endless days.

  • I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. (John 10:16)

The phrase “other sheep” in the above verse could mean the Gentiles, possibly a reference to “God’s dispersed children” of Jn 11:52.

  • and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. (John 11:52)

who are destined to be gathered into one, or “apostolic Christians” at odds with the community of the beloved disciple.

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