Before going to work each day, we go through many doors, such as bedroom door, bathroom door, and so on. The gate of our house is the last door we go through, at the beginning of the working day; it is also the last door we enter ending of the working day. The gate is the symbol of the beginning, and end of each of our days. The saying 'God is the alpha and omega', the first and last letter in Greek language, means God is the beginning, and ending of each day of our lives. In broader terms, we enter this world by God, and when ending this life, we return to God, the source of life and of our everlasting life. Jesus claims He is both the Good Shepherd and the Gate. Jesus is the Gate through which we enter the world. After our entering the world, Jesus doesn't leave us alone, but he leads and we follow. The gate is the boundary, separating between places of private ownership and public places. Outside the gate belongs to the public; inside the gate is an area of private ownership. Each place has rules of its own. Jesus is the Gate. A front gate is a symbol, resilient and sturdy. It endures heat of the day; it bears the coolness at night; it is anchored to the ground resisting any kind of whirlwind, and finally it is renewed when it is worn out. The front gate protects not just the house, but everything inside the boundary, stopping trespassing, and wild animals from entering the property. At night, for a sheep pen, the gate is the very first barrier to meet an enemy, stopping wolves from attacking the sheep, and serving as the deterrent preventing a thief from entering.
A shepherd and a gate are two different realities. Unlike a hired shepherd, who would put his safety before that of the sheep, or he would stay under the shade to avoid the heat of the day, and cover himself to keep warm at night, The Good Shepherd would stay firm, exposed to danger, and anchored like a gate post, whether the weather is hot or cold. In times of danger; the Good Shepherd would stay to protect the sheep at all cost. He values the welfare of the sheep as his own. Using the darkness to cover their identities, thieves and bandits often come at night to steal and harm the sheep. A gate stays; it never moves, no matter what. In claiming He is the Gate, Jesus claims He is with us at all times; in time of darkness, and hostility, to protect us.
During the day the Good Shepherd lets the sheep go outside to exercise, to find food and to enjoy life. He goes before them to make sure they are safe; he leads them to green young grass patches, near a stream; he looks after them, and carries the injured home. The sheep listen to his voice; he knows them and they know him. At night, he not only provides security for the sheep, but also tends the sick, providing them with peaceful sleep. The sheep enjoy a life of peace and prosperity; they enjoy a life free from domestic violence. They are free from any danger that comes from the outside world. They are under his tender care, living with love and compassion.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, looks after us at all times, day and night. Let's learn from Jesus to be good shepherds for members of our own families and for members of our faith community.