Homily for May 3 - "I am the gate"

     On this past Monday Governor Reynolds announced that some restrictions would begin to be lifted in 77 of the 99 counties in Iowa; in addition, the governor declared that restrictions on religious services would be loosened. A few hours later Archbishop Jackels sent an email to the priests wondering what exactly did the Governor mean. How should this be understood?

     Confusion and uncertainty in regards to what Governor Reynolds meant reminded me of the lack of clarity and certainty in what Jesus proclaims in our Gospel today. Jesus said, "I am the gate." I have many questions about this statement by Jesus. What exactly does he mean? How might it be explained? When is he the gate? How should this saying be understood?

     I want to share with you a few possible explanations of Jesus declaring, "I am the gate." First, as the gate Jesus introduces us to the Father. As we come to Him, deepen our understanding of Jesus - He introduces us to a greater or deeper grasp of God the Father. Second, as the gate Jesus opens us to the way of salvation. Enter into the kingdom of God through Him and you will be saved. Third, Jesus is the gate or pathway into a life of grace - he offers us a way to enter into God's love, joy and peace.

     Fourth, the psalm today gives us greater insight into understanding Jesus as the "gate". Psalm 23 proclaims "The Lord is my shepherd [gate]; there is nothing I shall want." The psalm teaches us that the shepherd leads us and the gate will open up so that we may graze in the pastures of everlasting life. "In verdant pastures he gives me repose; Beside restful waters he leads me ... And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come." Fifth, as the gate Jesus opens us to a feeling of being secure, loved, and at peace. With him we are in a place where we are fed, protected and safe or secure.

     In our gospel today Jesus proclaimed "I am the gate." In this tenth chapter of John's gospel, Jesus also stated that "I am the Good Shepherd". May you reflect on his words, enter through the gate and rejoice ... Jesus is alive and with us always. Alleluia!