Sheep have gotten a bum rap. Sometimes they are called “range maggots.” Or “woolly locusts.” Many consider sheep stupid. Without a shepherd, sheep usually cannot find pasture. They get lost and cannot make their way, knowing neither the whither nor the whence. But when sheep get lost, it is due in part to human mismanagement—bad shepherds!

Contrary to popular perception, sheep are quite intelligent and good at problem solving. They are surely as smart as cattle and nearly as bright as pigs. And they are superior to other animals in at least one way: They are able to recognize the voice of the one who cares for them. They heed the shepherd. Sheep follow no one else; they depend entirely upon and seek help from one shepherd alone. Sheep will not follow a stranger whose voice they do not know.

Part of the shepherd’s job is to gather the sheep together for the night. Once the sheep are in the pen, the shepherd locks the gate to ensure that the sheep stay close together. The gate guards against all that threatens the sheep—vandals, robbers, and wolves. The next day, the shepherd opens the gate so that the sheep can set off to find pasture. They will do so by heeding the voice of their good shepherd.

We all use metaphors. Most of the time we don’t even notice. If we don’t pay attention to our metaphors we can mix them up as Jesus does in today’s passage. He is both a gate and a shepherd at the same time. It’s a bit confusing. But both the gate and the shepherd serve the good of the sheep, guarding them from harm and ensuring that they flourish.

And us? Do we recognize the voice of the one Shepherd who cares for us? Do we stay close to the Shepherd to find our way and our well-being as part of the flock? Or do we wander unaware of both the whence and the whither?

O Shepherd, tune the ear of my heart to hear your voice above all the distractions that clamor for my attention. Amen.

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Leer John 10:1-10

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Leccionario Semanal
April 27—May 3, 2020
Resumen de la Escritura

The reading from Acts picks up the themes of mutual love and fellowship from last week’s readings and records that the display of these qualities captured the attention of the people in Jerusalem. When the church displays these qualities today, they still attract people to the Lord. The psalm and First Peter are linked by the theme of suffering. In Psalm 23, David is confident that God will stay with him even through the darkest valley. Peter encourages his audience to walk through that same valley, strengthened by the knowledge that God will never abandon them and that they are following the example of Christ. In John, Jesus declares that he is the way to safety for God’s sheep, so we should listen to his voice alone.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Acts 2:42-47. How do you see Good Time and Bad Time coexisting in your life or in your community?
Read Psalm 23. How do this psalm’s joys and comforts change when you consider the suffering of the psalmist in Psalm 22?
Read 1 Peter 2:19-25. When you have been caught in a struggle, how have your actions helped or worsened your situation?
Read John 10:1-10. How have you or someone you know attempted to enter God’s abundance by stealth? What does it mean for you to rectify this and enter through the gate?

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