Monday after Rogate
Scripture: St. John 10:1-5 (NKJV)
10:1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
On Misericordias Domini Sunday several weeks ago, we heard Jesus’ warning concerning both the wolves and the hirelings. In these verses, we learn more concerning the true Shepherd, who is Christ, and those whom this Shepherd sends to watch over His flock. Jesus’ words direct our thoughts to the text of 1 Peter 5, where St. Peter admonishes the pastors: “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” It is with good cause that these words of St. Peter are used at ordinations: they are a solemn reminder to clergy and laity alike concerning the nature of this divinely-given vocation. It is the Lord who calls men to the ministry, and it is He who will judge and
reward their stewardship of this solemn responsibility.
In today’s reading from John 10, the Lord begins by sounding a warning against all those who would enter without call and ordination to the holy office: such self-chosen men are those who climb up “some other way” into the sheepfold. They may give a great appearance of holiness, but lacking the public call, they are those who are actually thieves and robbers. Ultimately, they will reveal their true character because of the false teaching which will come in with their false ministry, and no matter how they have sought to deflect from their illegitimacy, the sheep will recognize that the voice which they hear is not that of the Good Shepherd. The sheep do not follow the voice of strangers; faith created and sustained by the Holy Spirit through the faithful preaching of the Gospel is drawn to that which is steadfast to that faithful Word.
We pray: O God, from whom all good things do come, grant to us, Thy humble servants, that by Thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be right and by Thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.