1. Introductory prayer
The Good Shepherd, you call me to the pastures of plentiful life. In the meantime, however, I see other pastures, also intriguing, and overlook that there are other shepherds, those who lead me into the bad. Clean me ears to perceive your voice, to be familiar with it and follow you.
2. Reading – Listening: The Gospel according to John 10:1-10 – Jesus the Good Shepherd
Jesus the Good Shepherd and His Sheep
10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
3. Thoughts on the Gospel
The word of God in the Easter time wants to deepen the relationship between the baptized and the Risen Christ. For this purpose, it gives one of the richest biblical texts – Gospel of John. It has a lot of symbols that try to penetrate the mystery of Christ and allow Christians a deeper contact with Jesus. In this passage such symbols are of the shepherd and the door. Jesus is the shepherd and the door.
- Let’s stop at the first symbol. What kind of a shepherd is Jesus? He is coming in the sheep barn through the door. The keeper opens him the door, and the sheep hear his voice. He is calling them by name and leads them out. When all come out, he goes in front of them and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
- Psalm 23 mentions a stick. Sheep identify their shepherd, even from the voice of his stick when in the dark, he strikes the ground. It is therefore a relationship of familiarity and trust. The shepherd knows every sheep, as he calls them by name. They immediately recognize his voice.
- They trust their shepherd, they are not afraid of him. This attitude of the shepherd, and the sheep of course, is about the relationship of Christ and Christians. On the one hand, the Lord knows each by name, each addresses, accepts and loves in his uniqueness. On the other hand, we, Christians know his voice and trust him.
But do we really know his voice? Nowadays, there are so many voices that we listen to, can we recognize the Christ among them? It is a distinction to separate the true from the false voice. Perhaps this is one of the most difficult tasks of the modern Christians.
- It is necessary to get used to the voice of Jesus, as a man is accustomed to the taste of a good wine. Wine and vinegar on the outside look the same, but when we drink it, we feel the difference.
- Similarly, Jesus’ voice and the voices of others, the Gospel says, the robbers and thieves. If we seriously dedicate our lives to the Lord and his Church, the Jesus’ voice is gentle and comforting, never rough and violent.
- The heart will be filled with peace, joy, love for God and the neighbor. St. Cyril of Jerusalem describes the effects of the entry of Jesus into the heart: “His arrival is minor, his work is pleasant and burden light. Rays of light and knowledge accompany him. He comes with the feeling of a true friend … soul has so much light that it cannot take it all.” Thus the voice of Jesus builds and combines. What is the voice of robbers and thieves respectively? It destroys and ruins.
- Cyril of Jerusalem says that it is entering into the heart of man as “blood thirsty. Wolf „Comes with a violence, “he excites the senses, consciousness is getting dark …; a man is wandering in the darkness, the eyes are open, but he does not see anything, he is upset.”
In order to be able to get used to the voice of Jesus, it takes a great familiarity with him.
It cannot be obtained otherwise than by prayer and frequent reading of God’s Word.
Only prayer can sharpen the sense of God’s motives and inspirations. We can recognize the voice and the heart of Christ, the Good Shepherd. And when you recognize it do not be afraid. It will not be the voice of an alien or a robber, but the voice of a loving God, who wants to “they may have life, and have it to the full. «
4. Meditation – thinking
About everything I have read and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:
- With Jesus I go through the day and I see, to which voices I have listened.
- Doors are used for entry, they protect the invasion, or close behind what must go out. What do I want that Jesus the keeper, is today especially observant at the door of my heart?
- If Jesus would open the door to me, which allow the fullness of life, which door would be opened?
5. Personal Prayer
In the next moments of silence, I talk about of this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God)
6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God
Now I let silence to be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me.
Perhaps from this silence I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship, or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…
When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action)
8. Prayer at the end
Merciful Father, You are patient shepherd and keeper. I give you the door of my heart, so that you always empty the fear that they dwells in it, and fill it with your love. So that there is enough love for people around me.
9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection
This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:
- How was I feeling when I started praying?
- What happened during the prayer?
- What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
- How did I feel at the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
- What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others and me to him and others?
- How did I finish my prayer?
- What did I receive for my everyday life?
In the end, I can write the lessons, findings and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. By prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.
Lectio divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home – ignacijevdom.si