In today’s gospel Jesus employs the image of a shepherd to describe his relationship to us, his sheep. We are happy to be his sheep because we know his voice; we trust him; he protects us from evil and he gives us life: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” He also speaks of himself as the gate for the sheep. In this image he is the way to salvation:
“Whoever enters through me will be saved.” This is similar to his declaring later in John’s gospel: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Today is Mother’s Day. President Woodrow Wilson made this a national holiday in 1914. Mother’s Day has its origins in Greek springtime pagan celebrations in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods. It spread into Europe and with Christianity became a celebration in honor of “Mother Church,” who gives us new life through baptism and protects us from harm through the grace of the sacraments.
A few years ago Pope John Paul II placed into the Church’s liturgical calendar the observance of Divine Mercy Sunday on the Second Sunday of Easter. In so doing he confirmed devotion to Christ as the Divine Mercy, a devotion which flowed from visions of our Lord received by Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun whom Pope John Paul II also canonized on April 30, 2000.