The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that the pagans too had accepted the word of God, and when Peter came up to Jerusalem the Jews criticised him and said, ‘So you have been visiting the uncircumcised and eating with them, have you?’ Peter in reply gave them the details point by point: ‘One day, when I was in the town of Jaffa,’ he began ‘I fell into a trance as I was praying and had a vision of something like a big sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners. This sheet reached the ground quite close to me. I watched it intently and saw all sorts of animals and wild beasts – everything possible that could walk, crawl or fly. Then I heard a voice that said to me, “Now, Peter; kill and eat!” But I answered: Certainly not, Lord; nothing profane or unclean has ever crossed my lips. And a second time the voice spoke from heaven, “What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane.” This was repeated three times, before the whole of it was drawn up to heaven again.
Jesus said: ‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out. When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice. They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’
Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them.
I am the gate for the sheep
Life has taken us through many a door. Some have been amazingly memorable, some not so. As Jesus speaks about Him being the door, it takes me back to the many doors I went through previously before taking the one to Him. One of the many disastrous ‘doors’ that I recall at this moment is the door to a club where I had met the man I was to marry.
It was at a company event and there he was chatting me up, trying to sound intelligent throughout (I obviously bought into it) with his flamboyant nature. Towards the end of the night, I refused to share my number but he did eventually get my office number and started contacting me there.
On our first date, we were chauffeur-driven and at the restaurant we were accompanied by his body guard. “Impressive”, I thought to myself. However, a lil’ siren did go off (but clearly not loud enough) as I started to ask myself ‘why would he need one?’.
Days led into months and a proposal was made. The preparations were rushed. I was told that his dad was ill and it was necessary to get it done before the year ended. 10 days, exactly 10 days before the wedding, on the night of my hen’s night, my now fiancée revealed a side to him I had never seen previously. He was drunk and a fight ensued, leaving me badly bruised and bleeding, climbing out of a rubbish chute to escape the building. That’s the gist of it.
Now as I look back, I see how this door to a new life was never meant for me to begin with. The fact that my Lord had allowed these events to unfold clearly shows me that He did not want this for me and was waiting for me to make a decision, my own choice; to leave it and get out.
He was waiting for me to look for my door back to Him, which I did that same year. With my heart crushed, hurt but grateful, I ran back to Him, a broken child. I had come to realise that the doors before me had really been a huge distraction from seeking the door to my Lord’s heart. The world had so much to offer and I was hungry to go through the doors of life eager as ever, and never discerning my every move. But my Father God is so faithful – he came after me, looking for me, waiting for me.
You’ve heard scripture say – The road to life is narrow. The road to destruction is wide. In today’s Gospel we get Jesus’ invitation to choose that path, a door that will not necessarily be easy, but it is one that is worth an eternity – a life forever in happiness with the Lord.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Fiona Biggs)
Prayer: Abba Father, help me to be wary of the many ‘inviting’ doors I encounter in my life. May I never be led astray from you. Amen.
Thanksgiving: My Lord and my God, thank you for never leaving my side. Thank you for dying on the cross (a door no one would ever consider) for me, your child, so that I may be one with you. Amen.