Today, we hear the last section of the “Good Shepherd” discourses in John 10 which the Church’s liturgy has offered us over the course of the past three days (Jn 10:1-30). The accusation that those who gather around Jesus in the temple offer is not unlike those we often hear made against the scriptures by skeptics in our own day: “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly” (Jn 10:24). This seems just a feigned earnestness on the part of Jesus’ questioners, since, when Jesus offers them the simple answers that the questioners claim to seek, these answers are often ignored or laughed away, even becoming a motive for condemning the God-man.
Yet, “I told you and you do not believe” (Jn 10:25a). How many times do we come before God and beg him for an answer when, if Jesus were to look us squarely in the eye and say these very words, we would have to admit that he had already answered us, but we did not want to listen?
Ignatius of Loyola says that love is more properly manifest in deeds than in words (Cf. SpEx 230). Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of the Father; we may say that his very deeds—which are always deeds of love—are words. And this is the way that Jesus reveals to us that he is the Christ: “The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me” (Jn 10:25b). If we come to resemble that which we worship, to which god do our deeds testify? Do our deeds suggest that we worship the “gods” that this world holds up before us (Cf. Ignatius, Const. 101, or the “pomp” mentioned in Benedict XVI’s 2010 Easter Homily) or do they manifest that selfless love which reveals that the one we follow as lord is the one true God, revealed in Jesus Christ. If we freely and truly allow Jesus to have dominion over us, then perhaps we may begin to merit the name of “Christian,” which people first called Jesus’ disciples in Antioch, since in those people’s actions, others could recognize the life of that Christ whom the “Christians” claimed as Lord.