We sometimes say, “I’m putting this in God’s hands.” We recognize that, while we have done what we can, a situation is not in our control. We surrender it to God. Jesus told us, “Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. (Mt 6:34).
At night before he went to sleep, Pope St. John XXIII used to pray, “It’s Your church, I’m going to bed.”
Surrendering situations in our lives, especially those parts that are problematic, is an act of faith in Jesus. Today’s Gospel, John 10:27-30 describes Jesus’ followers as His “sheep,” who are in His “hands.”
Jesus announces: “My sheep hear My voice” (Jn 10:27). St. Thomas Aquinas comments that “hearing Jesus’ voice” implies “believing and obeying His precepts” (Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of John, 1446). Psalm 95:7 declares: “O that today you would harken to his voice! Harden not your hearts.”
Jesus proclaims: “I know My sheep” (Jn 10:27). Thomas explains that Jesus knows and loves His sheep: “He says ‘I know them, that is, I love and approve of them.’ The Second Letter to Timothy attests: ‘The Lord knows those who are His’ (2 Tim 2:19). This is like saying: the very fact that they hear Me is due to the fact that I know them by an eternal election” (Commentary on John, 1447).
Thomas addresses the question whether a person should be blamed for lack of faith, if faith is a gift. Thomas responds: “I answer that it is imputed to them because they are the cause why it is not given to them. Thus, I cannot see the light unless I am enlightened by the sun. Yet if I were to close my eyes, I would not see the light; but this is not due to the sun but to me, because by closing my eyes I am the cause of my not being enlightened. Now sin, for example, original sin, and in some persons actual sin, is the cause why we are not enlightened by God through faith. This cause is in everyone. … those who are chosen are lifted up by God’s mercy” (Commentary on John, 1447).
Jesus announces: “My sheep follow Me” (Jn 10:27). Thomas notes that “what we do, concerns our imitation of Christ…” (Commentary on John, 1448). The Second Letter of Peter asserts: “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Pet 2:21).
Jesus promises “I give them eternal life” (Jn 10:28). Thomas reflects: “They follow Me by walking the path of gentleness and innocence in this life, and I will see that afterwards they will follow Me by entering into the joys of eternal life” (Commentary on John, 1449).
Jesus assures us that this eternal life will not end and is incorruptible. Jesus declares: “This is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (Jn 17:3). Jesus announces “No one shall snatch them out of My hand” (Jn 10:28). The Book of Wisdom asserts: “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God” (Wis 3:1).
Jesus confirms that no one can snatch from His hand because the Father’s hand and His are the same. Thomas explains that Jesus shows that, “The Father had communicated divinity to Him, saying, what my Father has given to Me, through an eternal generation, is greater than all: ‘For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself (Jn 5:26)” (Commentary on John, 1450).
Paul stated in his Letter to the Philippians: “God had bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Phil 2:9). Thomas reflects: “Therefore, what My Father has given to Me, that is, that I am His Word, His only begotten, and the splendor of His light, is greater than all” (Commentary on John, 1450).
Jesus affirms his unity with the Father: “I and the Father are one” Thomas comments: “This is to say: no one shall snatch them out of My hand, because I and the Father are one, by a unity of essence, for the Father and the Son are the same in nature” (Commentary on John, 1450).
Thomas affirms: “We can see this from his previous statement, what my Father has given Me is greater than all. He draws the conclusion from this: I and the Father are one. This is like saying: We are one to the extent that the Father has given Me that which is greater than all … For our Lord proves that no one will snatch the sheep from His hand precisely because no one can snatch from the hand of His Father. But this would not follow if His power were less than the power of the Father. Therefore, the Father and Son are one in nature, honor and power” (Commentary on John, 1451).
Denis Vincent Wiseman, O.P.
The translation of St. Thomas’ Commentary on John by Fabian R. Larcher, O.P. may be found on the website: http://dhspriory.org/thomas/