There are many images used to describe the role of Jesus in our lives. Today we read about Jesus being the gate of the sheepfold. The sheepfold is a like a fenced in area where all of the sheep are brought at night in order that the shepherds of the area can take turns in watching them during the night to ward off the attacks of wild animals and so on. This image, therefore, gives us insight into one of the ways in which we relate to Jesus. He is not just the Good Shepherd who looks after the sheep, but He is also the means by which they are looked after, that is, the gateway to protection and sanctuary.
We all need protection from sin and the temptation to sin. This we will find in Jesus! We all need a place of sanctuary to rest and be safe for a while. This too is found in Jesus. Here we confront one of the paradoxes of the person of Jesus in that He seems to be so many different things to us that some of them, while not excluding others absolutely, do not seem to really fit in with each other. Another example of this occurs when we look at the Eucharist: here Jesus is both the one who offers the sacrifice and the one sacrificed. Furthermore He is also the congregation gathered (the Body of Christ) and the Word proclaimed! Perhaps this is just an experience of how Jesus is all things to all people!
Whatever the meaning of all the many images of Jesus to us it is important for us not to neglect some in favour of others. At particular moments of our lives perhaps one image will dominate but rarely will this be for a long time. In order to live a balanced life of faith we need to draw from all the images of Jesus that He offers us and so draw from the fullest experience of grace that we can.
What images do I tend to have of Jesus and how do I relate to Him through them? Should I be trying to develop other images in my relationship with Him?
Lord Jesus, you are all things to all people. Thank you for the gift of your love and life. Help me to follow you as closely as I can drawing from all the graces you offer to me.