"I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture." Jn 10:9
Gates are important for shepherds, ranchers and dairy farmers. Not only do they protect live stock from predators, they also provide a safe haven for the animals themselves. Jesus calls himself a gate because he wants to protect us and give us a sense of security in his Father's love. He also wants us not to be afraid to offer others a safe place in God's house, and this becomes the task of every person committed to the Gospel.
For most of us, our parents were gate keepers. They made sure we said thank you and please, urged us to think of others before ourselves, and were responsive to those who were struggling. When I was a boy, a fellow in our neighborhood, who struggled with alcohol, showed up at mass one Sunday with a broken ankle and nose, but my mother assured us that he had fallen off a curb. Committed not to talk about others in negative ways, she may not have told the truth as she knew it, but she protected our neighbor's reputation. She was a gate for him and for us.
When we realize how much God wants to protect and guide us, we are humbled. Looking past our faults and sins, God keeps giving us examples of faith to assure us that we, too, can strive to live the Gospel fully. The two Popes canonized last week illustrate this. John XXIII told us to "see everything, overlook a great deal, and correct a little." John Paul II reminded to be in solidarity with the poor despite the cost, and to help create a peaceful world rooted in justice. Both men were gates whose lives encourage us to do the same in our generation.
Today, protect someone's reputation because it is the right thing to do.
Who has been a gate of faith for you?