Commentary on the Gospel of

Fr. Roland Onuekwusi Chidiebere, CMF

May 12 – John 10:27 – 30 (4th Sunday of Easter) The Lord, my shepherd knows me

This passage uses the picture of the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd to depict the close bond between our Lord Jesus Christ and his disciples. It’s a familiar image to the Jews of his day, because pasturing was a common occupation. The key issue here is distinguishing the false shepherds from the True Shepherd. While the former abandon their sheep when they are attacked by wild animals, the latter remains resilient, fights back in their defense. The good shepherd literally lays down his life to ensure that no sheep is hurt. When one gets missing in the desert, he goes in search until he finds it. Fascinatingly, he gives each a name and calls them accordingly! One simply needs to live for a while among the pastoralists to grasp the reality of this practice! One of my pastoralist friends knows the rope of each of his cows un-mistakenly!! This is a clear reminder that we are closely bonded with our Lord Jesus Christ right from our baptism: we are his body and he is our head! Additionally, our Lord helps us to understand that this is not an ordinary relationship; his bond with us (his disciples) is tied with ‘the knot’ of the bond between him and the Father, such that no one can steal any of us from him, because no one is able to steal from the Father. Our part of the pact is to “stay with Jesus” and eternity is ours! What a joy!!

 The passage concludes with clear expression of Jesus’ deity with the Father, for he says: “I and the Father are one.” The Jews clearly understood him; they knew he was claiming the same essence with God, and that was the reason why they wanted to kill him because ‘he made himself God’s equal!’ To them this claim amounted to blasphemy. But only with time his assertion became clear not just to the Jews but to the whole world! Hence, with St. Thomas each one live to forever proclaim: “my Lord and my God!” 


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