Today, we keep mulling over one of the most beautiful and well known images of Jesus' preaching: the Good Shepherd, his sheep and the gate. We all keep in our memory the figure of that good Shepherd we were able to look at, as children. An icon well beloved by the first fold, that already belongs to the Christian sacred art at the time of the catacombs. How many memories can be aroused in us that young shepherd with the wounded sheep on his shoulders! We have, quite often, seen ourselves projected in the figure of that poor animal.
Only a few days ago, we were still celebrating Easter and, once more, we have been reminded that Jesus did not speak in a figurative language when He was saying that the good shepherd offers his life for his sheep. For He really did it: his life was the price He paid for our retrieval; with his life He bought ours, and thanks to that deliverance we have been rescued: «I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved» (Jn 10:9). We find here the great mystery of the ineffable love of God that reaches unthinkable extremes to save each human creature. Jesus brings his love to the extreme, to the point, of offering his own life. We can still hear the echo of St. John's words in his Gospel, introducing us to the moments of His Passion: «Before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end» (Jn 13:1).
Of the words of Jesus, I would suggest our paying a deeper attention to these ones: «I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me» (Jn 10:14); even more so, «The sheep hear his voice (...) and the sheep follow him for they know his voice» (Jn 10:3-4). It is true Jesus knows us, but, can we also say we know Him well enough, that we love Him and we reciprocate as we should?