Jesus said: "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.
In his Regina Ceoli address last week Pope Francis said the apostle Thomas, “wants an extraordinary sign – to touch the wounds. Jesus shows them to him, but in an ordinary way, coming in front of everyone, in the community.” Jesus makes Himself known in the community, and it is in the presence of the community that He shows the Apostles His wounds, “the proof of his love, the ever-open channels of His mercy.”
Pope Francis explained that we, like Thomas, are invited to “seek the Risen One” not in “some spectacular or amazing religious manifestation, only at the emotional or sensational level,” but within the community of believers, the Church. “Despite all its limitations and failures, which are our own limitations and failures, our Mother Church is the Body of Christ,” the Pope said. “And it is there, in the Body of Christ, that the greatest signs of His love can be found, impressed, now and forever.”
And he invited us to ask ourselves if, “in the name of this love, in the name of Jesus’s wounds, whether we are willing to open our arms to those who are wounded by life, excluding no one from God’s mercy, but welcoming everyone – each person like a brother, like a sister.”
We are a manifestation of the Body of Christ, the ordinary way in which Jesus chooses to reveal himself to the world. Because of this we are the gate for the sheep. How we deal with each other and those we have not yet met is telling. We have been trained from our earliest times to manage each other by subtle (and not so subtle) judgements against behavior that seems to act against the group. To come to Mass late or leave early, to miss Mass entirely for some sporting event or a child’s activity can incur the wrath of all of the rest of us who follow the rules and come to church on time and stay until the end of the last song. (There should be some sort of a reward for keeping the rules, right?) Yet, Jesus, the good shepherd; models himself in such a way as to say he will leave the ninety-nine behind to find the lost sheep and when he does find it, he places it gently on his shoulders and carries it back to the rest.
Because we are a manifestation of Christ’s Body. Pope Francis final words of his Regina Ceoli address last week strike a chord with me: He invites us to ask ourselves: “in the name of this love, in the name of Jesus’s wounds, whether we are willing to open our arms to those who are wounded by life, excluding no one from God’s mercy, but welcoming everyone – each person like a brother, like a sister.”
There are no comments yet - be the first one to comment: