Sunday Reflection by Sister Sandra Araujo Santos, SNDdeN
“I have come so that all may have life and have it to the full.”
My first reaction in reading this Gospel is a question. How does one know if this affirmation of the person, Jesus, as “the gate,” “the Way” doesn’t in some way exclude other manifestations of the love and grace of God? But then I go on reading to the end, to the last line, quoted above, and now it is easier to understand.
In the end, what is it that pleases God? The caring of life in all its fullness, in all its manifestations. So it seems to me that Jesus isn’t talking about himself , that is, of himself as the only way to meet God, but rather, Jesus speaks of a specific way of revealing God, which would be the way in which one respects life, does not put people at risk, but instead protects them; where people feel loved and can recognize an honest voice that does not betray or lie is not a voice of selfishness that abuses people in the name of personal vanity.
In this way, it seems to me that Jesus is not speaking of something that excludes, but rather a “package,” a “plan” that would be “the Way,” the “Gate.” The invitation (calling) in this case is to follow this model, this advice, this example; in this way, we respond to what God expects of us, his daughters and sons.
Certainly, in these days of pandemic, we have had the opportunity to see, feel, hear Jesus’ invitation to follow this way, this path. And we have seen many types of responses. There are those that are caring for life itself at all personal cost as Jesus would have done. And in contrast, there are people and powers, self-serving and self-aggrandizing, that are putting the lives of their own people at risk, taking advantage of this crisis to profit at the cost of thousands of lives around the world.
And there are those who are building networks of solidarity and restoring God’s creation in ever better ways.
These days we are experiencing many lies, many false prophecies preaching things that are too big and out of reach to human beings; but Jesus’ plan is obvious, is possible. We need to be very attentive so as to not fall for the easy, magic plans. The WAY is that all have life and have it to the full. As Christians we must do our part so that life in all its forms be full. This is the way, the gate through which we come closer to God. Amen.
Jesus said: “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 the shepherd 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, the Pharisees 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.”
Meet Sister Sandra Araujo Santos, SNDdeN