So familiar was the shepherd and his sheep, that each was called by a distinct name. In the winter the sheep were usually brought to a shelter which was locked. In the summer months the sheep were usually kept out in the fields and then gathered into a fold at night which was guarded by a shepherd throughout the night. He was literally the door through which the sheep had to pass.
The scriptures describe God as a shepherd who brings security and peace to his people. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore. Just as the shepherd gives direction and protection to the sheep, the Lord gives direction and protection to his people.
Life is too difficult to attempt to make it through safely alone. We need direction. We need protection, in one just one word: We need Jesus Christ. We call ourselves Christians because we are followers of the Lord, but we are also Christians because the Lord follows after us, helping us to get into line, protecting us from the elements of life that would destroy us.
The problem that we all have is that we think that we are invincible. And this is not true. We are dependent upon the Lord. That's why we pray every day. That's why we come to Church every week. That's why we receive the Eucharist. His is the strength that gives meaning, purpose and direction to our lives. He is the sheep gate who protects us. He is the shepherd who leads us.
As you know, our Holy Father will address the United Nations and visit New York. The media will cover his visit, including the Masses he will celebrate. I don't know yet what Pope Benedict will say to our country, but I do know this: His message will be the same as his earliest predecessor. We heard it today in the first reading: Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
Like St. Peter, Pope Benedict will call us to turn away from sin – those ways of thinking and acting that separate us from God and each other. And he will invite us to open the door –by prayer and the sacraments to enter a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray for him, for the success of his apostolic trip, and to love God and the Church with a generous and big heart.
 Sunday 13th April, 2008, 4th Sunday of Easter. [St Martin]. Readings: Acts 2:14, 36-41. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Ps 22(23):1-6. 1 Peter 2:20-25. John 10:1-10.
 Psalm 120:8
 Acts 2: 38.