Door We Never Opened

(Homily for Fourth Sunday of Easter)

Bottom line: Out of fear many have not opened the door that is Jesus. When he visits our country, Pope Benedict will renew the invitation.

The central image of today's Gospel is the Door. When a person stand in front of a door, he has two options: he can open it or not. If one does not open the door, he will never know what is on the other side. In a haunting poem, T.S. Eliot speaks about a "door we never opened."

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened

We all can think of doors we did not open. Of course, sometimes it was for the better, but at other times we sense a great opportunity lost. In today's Gospel, Jesus invites us to open a door. It is the one door that really matters. He says, "I am the gate....I am the door." He promises that if we enter through him, we will have life, we "will be saved."

One of the great pains for me as a priest has been to meet people, brought up Catholic, who did not open that door. Perhaps someone never led them to it. Maybe they did not realize each person must open door for himself. Or perhaps they were afraid. They felt that if they opened the door, they would lose their freedom, they would enter into a confined, restricted world. But Jesus says clearly that if a person enters through him they "will come in and go out.." He does not want slaves - but that we become sons and daughters in him. And, ultimately, Jesus will not deny us any legitimate desire. He says that in him we will "find pasture." He will fulfill our needs and desires in a way we could never have imagined.*

This week many people will receive an invitation. As you know, our Holy Father will address the United Nations and visit Ground Zero - the site of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The media will cover his visit, including the Masses he will celebrate in New York City and Washington, D.C. I don't know what Pope Benedict will say to our country, but I do know this: His message will be the same as his earliest predecessor. We heard it today in the first reading:

Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins

Like St. Peter, Pope Benedict will call us to turn away from sin - those ways of thinking and acting that separate us from God and each other. And he will invite us to open the door - by prayer and the sacraments to enter a personal relationship with Jesus.

Jesus says, "I am the Door. Whoever enters through me will be saved."


*Once a young woman had an alcohol problem. A person who cared about her pointed out that her pattern of drinking was harming her and could eventually ruin her life. The young woman said she did not care. She felt her life would be empty if she could not look forward to the next drink. But one day - in her misery - she opened her heart to the Lord. She did the unthinkable; she resolved not to drink again. God gave her real peace, power and freedom. Now she begins the day with a sense of anticipation of the adventure God has for her.

Spanish Version

From Archives (Fourth Easter - Year A):

2014 Homily: Journey to Hope Week 4
2011: Open the Door
2008: Door We Never Opened
2005: A Good Shepherd
2002: Can The Church Save Itself?
2000: Jesus' Job Description
1999: Where are the Shepherds?

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Sunday Homilies

Audio Files of Homilies

Podcasts of homilies (website of my niece, Sara)

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Fr. Brad's Homilies: great listening - I particularly enjoyed his series on the seven sacraments

letter from Archbishop Sartain: "Stephanie gave me a medal and a necessary lesson in discipleship. With the spontaneity, freedom, and love of a child of God, she taught me something invaluable about my need for detachment. Not clinging to something precious to her, something that signaled the height of her personal accomplishments, she freely gave and her face radiated joy. Do I so freely give of myself, so joyfully surrender my attachments?"

my bulletin column(May 15, 2011)

Bulletin (Prayer for School Auction, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus on Road to Cana, Pope's Visit, Retreat at Westminister Abbey)


Updates on Traditional Latin Mass at Holy Family Parish, Seattle (Note: I will be on retreat from Monday through Friday of this week, so there will not be an extraordinary form Mass on April 15)

Kudos to Hillary

Christian priest gunned down in Baghdad

This is a Dismemberment Abortion:

Parish Picture Album

(April 2011)

Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru