Checking In With The Gatekeeper
“I am the gate for the sheep.”
Nowadays no one leaves doors unlocked. That is considered much too dangerous and far too inviting of criminals. We are trained never to speak to strangers, never to go with anyone we don’t know. Our parents impart these first rules of safety to us from an early age. These two preventives, however, are contrary to the spirit of loving trust a Christian feels by nature. Yet the Lord himself cautions us to beware of thieves and robbers.
We are less wary and less guarded when it comes to the danger we invite into our souls. In fact, it is impossible to walk the ways of the world without bringing home to our minds, our wills, and our hearts some of this danger. These modern thieves and robbers appear so attractive and appealing. They reach out even to what is best in our human nature, and may slowly siphon off some of our fervor, love, and zeal. These are the cultural crooks. We become so accustomed to them that we let our guard down. We wonder: what harm they can do? After all, we reason, this is the world we are living in.
What choice do we have? Just as the sheep had to leave their pen every day and wander among the hills, so we have to live in our world and engage our culture. God wants us to have life and have it in its fullness. God does not ask that we hide from the world around us. Nor does he want us to shun the world. The choice that we do have is to go through the gate, and to check in with the gatekeeper, as the Gospel recommends. In this case, the gatekeeper is a good conscience, kept alert by God’s grace. This grace is our gatekeeper. An attentive conscience nourished and protected by grace enables us to come and go in confidence.
Jesus, Good Shepherd, you lead and guide me through this life. Every time I am tempted to wander off, you gently bring me back. So many things attract my attention, call for consideration, beckon for just a glance. Help me by your gift of grace to be always attentive and conscientious, ever grateful for our world and its inventions, but always secure in my faith. Thank you, Lord, for your constant, loving care.
“I came that they might have life and have it to the full.”
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 52–53). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.