Baptism: Gateway to an Abundance of Life
May 3, 2020
Fourth Sunday of Easter
“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 cam e so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are my gate. You are my Shepherd. I come before you with humility and gratitude for your care over me. Thank you for the freedom I experience as a child of the heavenly Father.
Encountering Christ: Dear Lord, thank you for giving me abundant life and for being a dear friend along my journey to eternal life.
1. Jesus Came so That We Might Have Life: Jesus wants to give us spiritual life through Baptism. “Those who enter through the gate will be saved.” The gateway to eternal life is to allow oneself to be washed clean in the waters of Baptism. We are called to embrace Christ’s way of life as a son or daughter of God. Once we have entered through the gate and become one of the flock, we have the freedom of a member of the household to come and go as we please.
2. Have Life More Abundantly: Jesus gives life abundantly. His life is like the vibrant vitality of a waterfall with a never-ending source of water, as opposed to the trickle of a little stream. Jesus wants us to live a life experiencing the all-encompassing providential care of a loving Father, of a Shepherd who provides abundantly for the most basic needs.
3. “I Am the Gate”: This passage is allegorical and a bit abstract. The people of Jesus’ time learned through stories, as do the people of our time. Jesus is saying that any stranger who is not part of the family cannot enter the gate unannounced to enjoy the privilege of using the grounds, eating the supplies, or drinking the water. However, a fully committed person who is incorporated into the family of Christ’s church may enter the gate and partake of the abundance of life provided by the Shepherd.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, the grace I received in Baptism is beyond the scope of my complete comprehension. Help me to realize what a gift you have given me by incorporating me into your family.
Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace, I will look deeply within my heart and reflect on what it means for me to be part of your flock.
For Further Reflection: Sections 1213-1284 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church explain the riches of the sacrament of Baptism.