Open The Door

WeeklyMessageMay 15, 2011
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Guest Homilist:Fr. Phil Bloom

Bottom line: Open the door of your heart to Jesus, that is: Repent, receive the sacraments and put yourself at the service of others.

Today Jesus – the Good Shepherd – speaks about entrance ways: gates, doors. I will be asking you to open the door of your heart to Jesus – and in doing so, to support of chief shepherd in Western Washington: Archbishop Sartain. And I also ask you to support me as your pastor – and the work of our parish.

I’d like to begin with a humorous story. Once a child came up to me after Mass. “When I grow up, Father,” he said, “I am going to give you some money.”

I was charmed so I asked him why he wanted to do that. “Well,” he replied, “My dad says you are one of the poorest preachers we have ever had!”

How poor a preacher I am I will let you judge, but I do need your support – as does Archbishop Sartain. (He is a wonderful preacher by the way.)

In asking for this support, I would to put it in the context of our readings. In the Gospel Jesus speaks about gates or doors. It might seem obvious but there is a big difference between entering through the door and climbing over the fence. One we generally welcome; the other might make us dail 911.

Jesus tells that it matters how we enter. Come in through the door. Then he takes the image a step further: He himself is the door. “Whoever enters through me,” he says, “will be saved.”

This saying brings to mind the words Blessed John Paul spoke when he began his amazing pontificate. Addressing the throng in St. Peter’s Square and beyond them, a waiting world, he said: “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ.”

Today’s readings invite us to open the door of our heart to Jesus – and to recognize him as the gateway to salvation.

St. Peter – who was the first pope – made a similar invitation. He told the people that even though they had crucified by their sins, He now lives. When the people heard it, they “cut to the heart.” They asked Peter what they should do. Two things, Peter tells them: Repent and be baptized. Turn away from sin and receive the sacraments, beginning with baptism.

The Catholic Church exists for that purpose. With all our own sins ands flaws, we do not stop inviting people to conversion – and to the new life of the sacraments. The connection to the supporting Archbishop Sartain and the Annual Catholic Appeal should be evident. If you look at where Annual Catholic Appeal funds go, you see things like religious education, faith formation, training of seminarians, deacons and others who serve in the Church.

There is something more. In our second reading – which is a letter from St. Peter – he encourages us to accept suffering to do what is good. Repentance and baptism lead to service.

There is something more. In our second reading – which is a letter from St. Peter – he encourages us to accept suffering to do what is good. Repentance and baptism lead to service.

Archbishop Sartain wrote to his priests about that. He reminded us that on Holy Thursday we washed people’s feet. As followers of Jesus, he said, we have “seek out feet to be washed.” Then he gave this explanation:

To be sensitively on the lookout for the troubles of others, to tend to them quietly without pointing them out or belaboring them, to share with the poor without exposing them to public scrutiny, to remove the embarrassment of others by acts of warmth and kindness – to seek out feet to wash: That is how we respect the God-given dignity of others. That is how we exalt them by becoming small ourselves.

The Annual Catholic Appeal is the way we wash the feet of others. We do it through a variety of agencies that Archbishop Sartain supervises. Some are pastoral, some are educational, some reach out to the needy. All of them respresent us as Catholics in Western Washington. I will explain to you the mechanics of the Appeal in a moment, but first I would like to state the “bottom line” of this homily:

Open the door of your heart to Jesus, that is: Repent, receive the sacraments and put yourself at the service of others.

A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
May 15, 2011

Abundant Life From the Good Shepherd
The atheist philosopher of the 19th century, Friedrich Nietzsche, once said: “if Christians want me to believe in their redeemer, they need to look more redeemed.”

He was drawing the wrong conclusion from a perceptive observation. To Nietzsche most Christians looked just as burdened, clueless and lost as everybody else. When he looked into their eyes, he did not see hope, excitement, joy, and a sense of purpose. They seemed to be still wandering around the Sinai desert, emaciated and anemic; their faces full more of impossibilities than possibilities.

The Shepherd Who Lays Down His life
In the Catholic tradition this Fourth Sunday after Easter is called Good Shepherd Sunday and is kept as a Special Day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood and the Religious Life.

In each of the Sundays in the three-year liturgical cycle we get a section from the discourse by Jesus on the Good Shepherd as recorded in Chapter Ten of John’s Gospel.

Surprisingly this idea of the Christ as a shepherd does not have many roots in the Old Testament. We shouldn’t wonder at this since Jesus is presenting himself as a quite different kind of Messiah than the people had been led to expect.

You Are What You Are Before God
A shepherd was herding his flock one day when suddenly a shiny BMW came towards him. The driver, a well-dressed young man leaned out the window and asked the shepherd, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?” The shepherd looked at the man, then looked at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answered, “Sure.” The man quickly pulled out a laptop computer, surfed to a NASA web page, called up a GPS satellite, and scanned the area. Finally, his computer beeped its completion and he turned to the shepherd and said, “You have exactly 1,586 sheep.” “That is correct; take one of the sheep.” said the shepherd. He watched the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car.

The Door Through Which All Of Us Must Pass
Jesus Christ is truly risen. Through the glory of the Resurrection the triune God reveals himself so that we may believe. “Christ’s Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history. In it the three divine persons act together as one, and manifest their own proper characteristics. The Father’s power ‘raised up’ Christ his Son and by doing so perfectly introduced his Son’s humanity, including his body, into the Trinity. Jesus is conclusively revealed as ‘Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from

Offering It Up
We Catholics who grew up straddling the cusp of the conciliar divide may have a vague memory of the phrase “offer it up.”

It was advice frequently given by the sisters who taught us our catechisms: “when you are in pain, when you are disappointed, when your feelings have been hurt, offer these things up to the Lord and ask him to use your suffering – that He join it to His own pain on the cross, for the good of others. Offer it as penance for your own sins, or the sins of those who cannot or will not do penance for themselves; offer it for the sick, the lonely, or for their intentions.”

Even Jesus Sometimes said, “No.”
One of the struggles that many Christians experience is that the needs around us are so great, and yet we are limited, both in personal strength, and in resources. And, lurking in the back of our mind, is a notion that whatever the problem, Jesus would always help and so should we. But, then, is it always wrong to say no when there is need?

Understanding the Mass Part I – A Unique Sacrifice Made Present
Catholics who don’t know much about their faith have some vague awareness that they’re supposed to go to Mass on Sunday. Ask them to describe the Mass, though, and they might tell you that it involves an introduction, a conclusion, and a collection! The Mass (also called the Eucharist or the Divine Liturgy) has two main parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. But rather than analyze its parts, I’d like to examine the Mass as a whole in terms of its three principal aspects. Now and always, the Mass involves a sacrifice, the presence of Christ, and a meal.

Five Ways the Old Testament Foreshadowed the Eucharist
I just finished reading Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre, and it’s fantastic. He does a great job of showing how various things from the Old Testament point to Christ. I wanted to use today’s post to show five different ways the Eucharist is prefigured in the Old Testament, and what each of those things shows us about the Eucharist.

I. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life

Pitre didn’t cover this one, but it’s important. In the Garden of Eden, there’s a tree that brings about death — the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:16-17) — and a tree which brings about eternal life — the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22). Pitre doesn’t

Month of May – Divine Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary
Our Lord to Blessed Alan: “If only these poor wretched sinners would say My Rosary, they would share in the Merits of my Passion and I would b their Advocate and would appease My Father’s Justice.”

Our Lady revealed to Blessed Alan: “that after the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, which is the most important as well as the Living Memorial of Our Blessed Lord’s Passion there could not be a finer devotion or one of greater merit than that of the Rosary.”

10 popular Marian devotions for the month of May
As we celebrate this month of May, walking in a particular way with Mary, the Mother of God, a reminder of some of the pious Marian practices of the faithful recommended by the Magisterium (It is worth going to the link to read the whole text which explains more in detail these beautiful devotions:

1. Prayerfully Hearing the Word of God – The Council’s call for the “sacred celebration of the word of God” at significant moments throughout the Liturgical Year, can easily find useful application in devotional exercises made in honour of the Mother of the Word Incarnate.

Finding God in 5 Steps
I occasionally get emails that say something like this:

I’m what you could call “agnostic.” I’m open to the possibility that God might exist. I’ve even been sort of seeking and have tried praying, but nothing has happened. I’m not any closer to believing in God than I was before, which I take to mean that either God doesn’t exist or doesn’t care if I know him.

I’m about to give up and just forget about it. I saw in your archives that you were in a similar place a few years ago and wanted to know if you have any advice before I stop what has so far been a futile search for God.

Saints Are People Too
As last weekend’s glorious yet surprisingly controversial beatification of Pope John Paul II reminds us, the debate over what constitutes true holiness (or perhaps more precisely, what we Catholics expect true holiness to look like) is far from settled. Given the context, this seems an ideal time to reflect on Monsieur Vincent, a classic French biopic of St. Vincent de Paul that highlights his undeniable sanctity while simultaneously challenging viewers to examine a number of damaging preconceptions they may have about what it means to be a saint.

A Message to Catholic Politicians and Others: The Presence is Real
The Catholic Church has, for two millenia, in keeping with the Incarnation, defended the dignity of all human beings. One example of this is the Papal Bull issued by Pope Paul III in 1537, Sublimus Dei, regarding the “enslavement and evangelization of Indians“.

JPII vs. bin Laden: The Eternal Consequences
I cannot remember in my lifetime a more profound contrast between good and evil as the one we witnessed on May 1, 2011.

The Sunday after Easter, designated Divine Mercy Sunday by then-Pope John Paul II, was the day we celebrated the former pontiff’s beatification. And on that same day, Osama bin Laden died a sudden, bloody, and violent death.

A Real Person Can Truly Love
“Real isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you. You become.”

The Velveteen Rabbit is a children’s classic. In the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, the bunny desires to be “real” to the little boy. The bunny desires to be real because this means that he is truly loved and cherished.

This story holds a powerful message for those who are seeking their future spouse. What does this mean, being a real person?

10 Reasons Why Pro-Lifers Will Eventually Win
Reason #1 – We have truth on our side.

Reason #2 – Death isn’t attractive and doesn’t sell.

Reason #3 – Technology. Every time a new technology allows us to see babies more clearly or help them survive outside of the womb earlier, we win.

Reason #4 – We are out-babying the other side. They think babies are a burden. We see them as gifts from God. Our numbers go up while their numbers go down.

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1 Response to Open The Door

  1. Pingback: Popular Piety and Mary « nunspeak

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