When you are one of the “frontliners” who stand here at the checkpoint, you will experienced that at the end there are two kinds of people. The first kind is people who cause no trouble: they wear their facemask, bring their quarantine pass and ID, show that they really have a valid reason to travel, in one word: they obey the rules knowing that this is for the best of all. The other kind, it’s all opposite: people who try to sneak through the checkpoint without proper social distancing, without pass, without valid reason. They don’t think that this way they are not helping at all to stop the virus, they just think of their own convenience, don’t care for anyone else. It’s hard to see that happening. We, the “frontliners” can’t even go home and hug our families because we are scared to contaminate them. But those people so careless… I feel so frustrated and hopeless with them…
That’s the difference between a thief and a shepherd from today’s Gospel. A thief is only looking for his own convenience, for how to benefit even at the cost of other’s misery. Only a shepherd thinks about his sheep before thinking about himself because he cares and wants the best for them.
Jesus says that He is the gate, He is the one at the checkpoint. At this specific point, He is checking our heart and its intention. What do you pretend to achieve when you are in charge of his flock? Are you concern more about flock itself or more about your own gain? It’s not easy to answer. We are all missionaries, all we have been entrusted with God’s vineyard. There is only one gate: the one of humble service ready to give up one’s own convenience, one’s own life, for the life of others. Are we shepherd or are we thieves? What are our heart’s intentions when we serve? Prestige? Fame? Being able to post on facebook our good deeds? Or a daily, silent, abnegated kindness that doesn’t look for personal interest? Today we have opportunity to check the pulse of our heart, but the question is if we have enough courage to approach the checkpoint where Jesus himself is looking at us and checking if our reasons to serve are valid.
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.