What is the difference between a thief and a shepherd? A thief comes in the back window, sneaking in and preparing to steal. A shepherd on the other hand, watches over the sheep, helps guide and protect them. So often people feel that God is robbing them of opportunity, especially through countless rules and obligations, similar to thievery. However, taking it from a lighter perspective, God opens the door to many more opportunities when we are faithful, even if we don't realize it. Do you open doors for others by talking to them about faith and broadening their perspective, or do you hide away and thrive the opportunity from them, too scared to take on the role of a shepherd?
Today's Gospel states:'"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly' (John 10:1-10).
In today's reading, we hear about how Jesus compares himself to being a shepherd, opposing the role of thief. The role of the shepherd for him is being the door, that entrance for people to get a closer glimpse at God. Now, thinking about Rahner's terminology of the economic trinity (God's essence and being revealed to us in the world) and the immanent trinity (God's complete being in its fullness); there is only so much of God that we can know, and reach in this world, as God is beyond our complete comprehension, there's always more. Jesus however, acts as a shepherd, guiding us to know more about God and what it means to be disciples, through his teachings, death and resurrection. Do you act as a shepherd or a thief? Take some time to ask God to help you to be a shepherd for others in their faith journey.
Today's prayer comes from 'crosswalk' a prayer for God to be your shepherd:
Father, I praise You for the many ways You are my Shepherd. Thank You that in Your leading, protecting, and feeding, You have never failed. Your faithfulness has never faltered. There hasn’t been, nor will there ever be, a circumstance or danger You can’t handle. I rest my life in Your care. In Jesus’ name, amen.