"I am the gate, Whoever enters through me will be saved." Jn 10:9
Are your home and parish spiritually safe places? Are your family members and fellow parishioners free to speak, question and challenge the unexamined assumptions that underlie so much of who we are and what we do?
No doubt for some these are threatening questions, but spiritual safety at home and in our parishes is critically important to our faith growth. Unless people can explore freely the foundations of their faith and question those in authority, not with intent to dissemble, but with the hope of learning more about God and entering more naturally into the life of the faith community, they will stagnate or wander away from the practice of faith.
In today's gospel Jesus reminds us that he is the source of safety for the sheep, and that whoever enters through him will be saved. Too many others, he insists, especially the leaders of the Jewish community, were not good shepherds to their flock. They did not look after them. They did not protect them against predators. Rather, they taught the law to reinforce their own power, not to advance the reign of God.
When Jesus makes these kinds of charges against the Jewish leaders he knows there will be push back, and yet he can do nothing less. He must protect the faith of everyday people, and assure them that the role of authority is not to control, but to lead the faithful to know, love and serve God more deeply. Only when parents and church leaders realize that their children must become adults can our families and parishes use God's power to transform the earth.
Today, be a place of safety for someone who is struggling with belief.
Who helped you to trust God's shepherd like care when you were confused or hurt?