Did you pay attention in Mass today? We celebrate Good Shepherd’s Sunday. Now, WHO IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD ACCORDING TO TODAY’S MASS? Without thinking, an immediate answer would be, “Jesus is the Good Shepherd”. Well, not exactly.
Actually, in today’s specific Mass, the one portrayed as the shepherd is God the Father, while Jesus is portrayed as “the gate”: “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.” (Jn 10:7). We must not overlook two things in this affirmation:
1. Jesus says "Amen, amen", "In all truth I tell you", which is a formula he always uses before making a solemn statement, so the fact that he is the gate, is utmost important.
2. This is one of the 7 times in Jn when Jesus speaks of himself using God's name: I AM, once more, stressing the importance of him being a gate to the sheep.
The Responsorial Psalm in this Mass is Psalm 23, which reminds us of God the Father as the shepherd who gives us repose in verdant pastures.
The Prayer after Communion, following the same motif, makes the point of the Father being the shepherd once more: “Look upon your flock, kind Shepherd, and be pleased to settle in eternal pastures the sheep you have redeemed by the Precious Blood of your Son.”
It will be later, in Jn 10:11, when Jesus will speak of himself as “the beautiful shepherd” (ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός in Greek), but not today.
The fact that Jesus is the gate for the sheep is represented in properly designed churches through their main door. The main door of a Church is a symbol of Christ the gate, so doors shall be designed in a way that reminds us of Jesus as we enter and exit the sacred space.