« I am the Gate for the sheep. Whoever comes in by me will be saved ; they will come in and go out and find pasture. I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness. I am the Good Shepherd who is willing to die for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd ; As the Father knows me and I know the Father, in the same way I know my sheep and they know me. And I am willing to die for them. » (John 10)
Jesus presents Himself as the « Gate of the sheep ». It is from this verse that is born all the symbolism of the Holy Gate ; this Gate, which during the major jubilee years celebrated by the Church, remains open day and night, so that pilgrims may pass through… and thus pass symbolically through to a new life, to a stage of conversion. In general, the Holy Gate is chosen with reference to the sanctuaries and the most important cathedrals in the Diocese. When the great Jubilee of the Year 2000 in Rome, on January 6th 2001, was closed, a solemn Mass had been celebrated on st Peter’s Square by John Paul II. During the celebrations , there was the closure of the Holy Gate of st Peter’s Basilica… This Gate through which countless faithful had passed during the year 2000. In his homily, John Paul II was to say : « with the closure of the Holy Gate, it is a symbol of Christ which is closing. But the Heart of Jesus remains more than ever open, saying to contemporary humanity, which is constantly in quest of meaning and hope : « Come to Me all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads… » (Matthew 11). » These very profound words of John Paul II help us to view the ever open Heart of Jesus as the Holy Gate par excellence, which allows us to gain access to this divine « Pasture », which the Gospel, that we have quoted, talks of… to the unfathomable mystery of Trinitarian Love.
Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate to Heaven, we adore You. (from the litanies of the Sacred Heart.)