Standing at the doorway to an encounter with God

Fr TOM McHUGH

Doors and doorways are a powerful symbol in the human imagination. Not many years ago, young members of a family were given a key to the front door on their 18th birthday, marking a point of maturity and responsibility. Doorways are places of encounter — marking arrivals and departures, welcomes and fond farewells.

The house of God and the gate (door) of heaven is the place of encounter with God. But at the baptism of Jesus, the Gospel tells us that heaven’s doors opened and the Spirit came to rest on Jesus. He is now the door and the doorway through which we come to meet the Father, the Merciful one and he is ever present to us.

Holeman Hunt and other artists take up this imagery. Hunt’s painting of Jesus the ‘Light of the World’ hangs in St. Paul’s Cathedral. He knocks on the door which can only be opened from inside.

We stand inside and only you or I can open to him. He does not force entry. “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens to me I will come in, sit him down at table and prepare a banquet for him.”

In Jesus, we experience the love and mercy of the Father.

In less than two months, on the 8th December, Pope Francis will open the Door of Mercy to mark the beginning of the Year of Jubilee. In the words of St. John Paul II the invitation is to “open wide the doors for Christ”. It is the door to our heart, the place of encounter with Jesus, the merciful Son of the Father that we are called to open to.

Please note the many times during Mass we cry out to God for “mercy”. Let this prayer echo in your heart daily: “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy”.

 

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