Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of John (10: 1-10) in which Jesus tells the Pharisees, ‘Anyone who does not enter the sheep fold through the gate, but gets in some other way, is a thief and a brigand.  The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the flock’.Fr Paul says this Gospel of the Good Shepherd is the closest thing we will find to a parable in John’s Gospel.Jesus has just had a major clash with the Pharisees after he cured the man born blind. This claim of Jesus to be the Good Shepherd is, firstly, a claim to be the Messiah in the line of David. It is also a claim to the be Divine Shepherd of Israel, which means we have the condemnation of the current leadership of Israel and a promise of a special messenger sent from God. In most stories about sheep in the Scriptures, Fr Paul says, they are often seen as helpless creatures, getting lost and needing to be found, except in this particular passage where the sheep are more responsive. They have a real relationship with the shepherd. They have the confidence to go out through the gate to freedom when he opens it. They recognise his voice and follow him and respond to his voice when he calls their name.Fr Paul says, in light of the Gospel today, we might pray that we, too, have that same confidence and warmth of relationship with the Lord in our own lives.