“They will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”

Today’s gospel (Jn 10:1-10) is actually the run up to yesterday’s reading.  Here Jesus begins the analogy of Himself as the good shepherd who not only cares for His sheep but even acts as the gate to these sheep to protect them.  Any who don’t come through Jesus are “thieves and robbers” (v. 8) come to do ill and harm.  But Jesus “came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (v. 10).  A key point to this whole discourse is one made by Jesus in the headline.   This is a trait from sheep that we need to embrace.  To be undivided followers of the Lord, we must not go astray and listen to voices offering an alternative to Jesus.  Temptation waits but we must resist.  What looks good or pleasing for immediate sensual satisfaction often is not for our ultimate good.  And we usually know it, if not ahead of time, then certainly in the regret that almost immediately follows (cf. Rom 7:15, 19).  Scripture and the Church provide the means to true and lasting happiness.  More than a dozen time in the gospels, Jesus says, “Follow me.”  When He does so He is talking about these things as well.  Jesus is the Word (Jn 1:1).  Jesus is the Church, the Body of Christ (Acts 9:4, 22:7).  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6).  Do not be deceived by the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Seek what is lasting: follow the good shepherd who wants what’s best — and knows what’s best — for His flock.  In this obedience to the truth there is the freedom of God Himself.

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