At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand.The Father and I are one.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus displays a childlike trust and simplicity. His response to the Jews is simple and direct: his works testify to who he is. When he talks about his sheep, his thought is straightforward: he knows them, and they follow him. When he says that his sheep cannot be taken away from him, he shows a childlike trust in the Father: my Father gave them to me, so no one can take them away.
Jesus is like a child confident in the love of his parents; nothing can shake him. If we look at the saints, like Ignatius and Thérèse, we see the same confidence and trust.
As Christians, we are invited into that same relationship of loving confidence. As Jesus says, we are a gift to him from the Father. If we place our trust in him, nothing will take us away.
you are always close to those who hope in you;
grant us, we pray,
a spirit of confidence and trust in your love,
that we may share with you
the fruits of everlasting life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
—William Manaker, S.J.