7 May 2017
On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’
Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.
1 Peter 2:20-25
The merit, in the sight of God, is in bearing punishment patiently when you are punished after doing your duty.
This, in fact, is what you were called to do, because Christ suffered for you and left an example for you to follow the way he took. He had not done anything wrong, and there had been no perjury in his mouth. He was insulted and did not retaliate with insults; when he was tortured he made no threats but he put his trust in the righteous judge. He was bearing our faults in his own body on the cross, so that we might die to our faults and live for holiness; through his wounds you have been healed. You had gone astray like sheep but now you have come back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
‘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.
So Jesus spoke to them again:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
I am the gate of the sheepfold.
All others who have come
are thieves and brigands;
but the sheep took no notice of them.
I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
he will go freely in and out
and be sure of finding pasture.
The thief comes
only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come
so that they may have life and have it to the full.’
I am the gate of the sheepfold
There are some tourist attractions where the entire building has been demolished and only the gate has been conserved as a memorial to the place where the building once stood. Whether it is a former school or performing arts venue, these gates serve as a memorial for the many people whom have passed through their doors. The readings of today remind us that Jesus Christ is the gate through which we must pass through in order to live life to the fullest.
A gate may seem insignificant, but it has an important role in allowing people to come in and out of a place. It serves as an indicator for people that they are entering into a different environment. The life of a Christian is also about entering through the gate of Jesus Christ where He has poured out upon us His precious blood to save us from all our sins. We depend on Christ for the strength to continue in our journey in life. The blows which He bore during the scourging and crowning of thorns is, as St Paul reminds us in the second reading, to allow us to be healed.
As Christians, we are marked with the sign of Christ from our Baptism. This means that we are called to a life of holiness where our actions and words are all examples for others to follow. Unlike the metal gates found in tourist attractions which are susceptible to rust and attacks by the weather, the gate which we pass through is the gate of life – the gate where we will be safe and can find eternal life.
It is with this in mind that the Church has designated today as Vocation Sunday. Traditionally, it has been the day where we are called to give thanks for the many men and women who have answered the call to religious and priestly life. For us who live in the secular world, it is also a reflection of our vocation as either married or single people. We are called each day to go deeper into our lives to find out if our plans are in alignment with what God’s plan is for us. This reflection process is supposed to help us then be an echo of God’s love to the world – to show the world that there is hope in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray that you open our hearts to let us be receptive to the plan you have for us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who have found their vocation call in life.