Dig Deeper into Sunday’s Gospel: Read John 10:1–10
My husband told me I had to have the new front door picked out by…well, by yesterday. I sigh as I look at the fifteen shopping tabs currently open on my browser. We are building a new house on the south end of Kent Island, a little spot of land tucked away on the Chesapeake Bay, and the design choices seem endless. Single or double door? Arched or flat? Transom or not? Painted wood or all glass? I feel a lot of pressure because this choice sets a tone; the front door will act as the centerpiece of our house design. It’s what people will notice first when they pull up to our new digs. The front door will be the place where our guests linger as we welcome them. It’s the aesthetic they will remember most as they pass through to leave. The door matters.
As I look at this Sunday’s gospel reading, I feel a little less frazzled about my obsession over our front door choice. Jesus understands. He says the way we enter matters too. In John 10:1–10 Jesus warns his followers about the dangers of one who “does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere” (John 10:1). Another popular Catholic Bible translation refers to this entry point as a “door.” Jesus says when the gatekeeper opens the gate, the sheep will know His voice and recognize Him. The sheep, He adds, will not follow a stranger’s voice but only the shepherd’s.
Jesus labels the man who tried to originally bypass the entry point and slide into the sheepfold another way a thief and a robber. John 10:10 tells us, “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Just two weeks ago, 700 women from around the country gathered in Leesburg, VA, for our WWP Women’s Conference, Flourish. Father John Riccardo gave a dynamic talk asking us who we believe Jesus refers to when He refers to “the thief” in the Holy Scriptures. The room fell quiet.
“The thief,” said Father Riccardo, “is the enemy. The devil is not a myth. He is very personal. His goal is to degrade, defeat, and destroy you. That’s the bad news!” But, like Father Riccardo animatedly told us, there’s lifesaving news too! In 1 Peter 1:12 we are told about the “good news” preached “through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.” Jesus offers us an escape from the clutches of the enemy. Jesus is the door of hope, protection, and the gateway to eternal life. Jesus is the door of rescue.
Jesus is teaching His followers that He is the good shepherd. And still, John tells us, Jesus’ audience doesn’t quite get it. So He tries another way (John 10:6). This part makes me smile because it reminds me of when my toddlers were running wild and needed what I called “heart-shepherding.” I would gently touch their face, ask them to make eye contact with me, and listen to my voice. I needed to get down to their level to make my communication crystal clear, leaving no room for doubt that my words mattered. So when you read these following words of Jesus, picture a mother bending down on her knee to look eye-to-eye with her child, intent on teaching a crucial lesson. Jesus says, “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9). Okay, Jesus. Message received.
John is one of my favorite gospels because it was written for a universal audience. If you are interested in studying the Bible, it can sometimes feel overwhelming trying to discern where to start. How often have you tried the method of closing your eyes, opening to a random page of Scripture, and tracing your finger down the page to finally land on a verse, hoping it will provide the heavenly inspiration you desperately need? This rarely provides the answers we are looking for. The Gospel of John, however, is the perfect place to start to get acquainted with Jesus.
According to Bible expert Jeff Cavins, the Gospel of John is unique from the other gospels because it highlights the divinity of Jesus. John’s writing does not describe any parables, a type of storytelling prevalent in the other gospels—Matthew boasts nine parables and Luke an astonishing thirty-five. Instead, John walks us through the details of the eight miracles performed by Jesus. His focus is on one thing: magnifying the identity of Jesus.
“Every single chapter,” says Cavins, “provides a kind of a separate portrait of who Christ is and what he has demonstrated as far as being God. The synoptic gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us what Jesus did. John tells us who he is in a really beautiful way.”
The Gospel of John has nine famous “I am” statements, including “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), and “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Jesus tells us in this week’s gospel, “I am the gate” (John 10:7).
He is the gate, the door that offers eternal life. His life, death, and resurrection provide access to heaven. This is not just good news; this is incredible news! Let’s thank Him for reminding us who He is today. Now, if only Jesus had a design website and I could order my front door directly through Him, we’d be in great shape!
Food for thought or journaling…
How can I quiet the noise in my life in order to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd? Can I commit to reading John's gospel this week to grow my relationship with Jesus?
Lord, help me to trust You as my Good Shepherd. Thank You for protecting me from the thief. Grow my love for You, Jesus. Amen.
 John 10:9 “I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved...” Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2010), 181.
 Cavins, Jeff. “Messianic Checkpoint” The Gospel of John, The Bible in a Year–with Fr. Mike Schmitz. (Recorded June 13, 2021) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SeaKsZJYTrk.