Sunday, May 15, 2011

Of Sheepfolds And Such

Today's reading is from John 10:1-10.

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

What does a sheepfold do? It contains the sheep. It keeps them from wandering about to do as they please. Why? Because there are wolves, thieves, etc. out there who would do the sheep harm. The sheep endanger themselves by leaving the confines of the sheepfold. They become vulnerable and will either be lost or destroyed by their enemies.

This seems obvious, and I realize that what I'm saying is hardly a ground-breaking comparison. I find it amazing, though, that people wonder why unbridled freedom of doctrinal dissent is so bad. Being allowed to roam into the hands of the Adversary is not a desirable outcome. You have to wonder why so many desire it.


Atticus said...

Speaking of gates, you might be interested in Russell Kirk's autobiography, The Sword of Imagination. It is an entertaining and idiosyncratic story of conversion and intellectual warfare. I always found it interesting that he ends the book with this lovely quote from As You Like It:

I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a
great fire; and the master I speak of ever keeps a
good fire. But, sure, he is the prince of the
world; let his nobility remain in's court. I am for
the house with the narrow gate, which I take to be
too little for pomp to enter: some that humble
themselves may; but the many will be too chill and
tender, and they'll be for the flowery way that
leads to the broad gate and the great fire.

Mark of the Vineyard said...

Today's epistle reading in the Gregorian Mass was from 1 Peter. It spoke about not using liberty/freedom as a cloak for malice. I thought it was very a propos, as though it had been written today. We constantly hear people go on and on about liberty, but what they want it for is only to enslave themselves to sin.