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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus identifies himself as the sheepgate and says, “Whoever enters through me will be saved.” Well, does this mean that only explicit Christians will be saved? Does it mean that unless you are baptized, you don’t receive the Holy Spirit?

There are two extremes to be avoided here. On the one hand, the exclusivist claim that only baptized Catholics can be saved. That is not the teaching of the Church. But the other extreme (I think more prevalent today) is that one’s religion is finally a matter of indifference as long as one finds himself on a spiritual path.

This second view doesn’t give nearly enough weight to the uniqueness of Christianity. With Jesus Christ, something altogether new has entered the world, something that is deeply pleasing to God and therefore of salvific significance to us.

This is the power and message of the cross, that dynamic into which we the baptized have been drawn. Redemptive suffering is what Jesus did on the cross: putting up with suffering for doing what is right. This is pleasing in God’s eyes, precisely because it is redemptive for the world, precisely because it takes away something that God hates.