John 10 1-10:
"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 came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
He tells us, in the Gospel Reading, that He is like a pastor who protects his sheep and does not abandon them.
This concept reminds us of the words that Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” And from that time to this day the Church has been built on Peter and his successors. "Where Peter is, there is the Church that Christ founded". The special ministry that Peter had in the Church and that the Pope continues to carry out centuries afterwards is shown in the Bible.
The message that the Gospel gives us is that Christ will always protect His Church. "Christ entrusted to Peter the care of the flock and through the years the image of the Good Shepherd began to be seen as the Pope, Peter and his successors". From the moment that Our Lord gave the "flock" to him, Peter would have to guide the Church that Christ founded, continuing the mission of Christ.
Unfortunately, there are people who do not want to be a part of the flock. "They say that this idea is old fashioned and that it does not go with their modern life". They prefer a Church that is a free group of people who can act without rules and do what they choose to do. These people would like their shepherds to be like employees who they can fire if they are too up tight and demanding.
We should not allow people who are outside of our Catholic faith to crush our faith. We should not listen to those who try to tell us that we do not have to follow our shepherds, the Pope and the bishops and priests, or their teachings. We should remember what Jesus told us, that whoever is united to the head of the Church will be truly united to Him. So then, whoever tries to crush and attack the church, and whoever wants to change all that the Church practices will not receive anything.
(C) 2007 Lex Orandi Press-