Unlock the Doors 3rd Sunday Easter Fr. Roberto
Homily for Third Sunday of Easter – Year B
Fr. Roberto Corral, OP
St. Dominic Church, Los Angeles, CA
April 18, 2021
Title: Unlock the Doors
Theme: Jesus helps us unlock the doors we often hide behind.
Readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; 1 John 2:1-5a; Luke 24:35-48
During this pandemic, we have all experienced a feeling of being enclosed and isolated at times. We have not been able to get out and do the things we are so accustomed to such as coming to church, going to school or work, going shopping, to the movie theater, to the beach or the park or visiting family and friends. I remember that it was especially difficult when we went through the shelter-in-place orders and we were basically forbidden to leave our homes except for absolutely necessary reasons. Some of you who are watching online are still very much in that kind of isolation. In addition to the isolation we have felt is the fear of the unknown: will I or my loved ones get sick? How long will this last? Am I going to lose my job? Will things ever return to normal? Etc. On top of that is the stress that comes from living together in a small space without being able to get away for such a long period of time. For these reasons, many of us have become more irritable and impatient, and even depressed.
I imagine that the apostles were experiencing many of these same emotions as they remained enclosed and in isolation behind locked doors in the upper room after Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday. They too were feeling uncertain and afraid that the Jewish leaders would hunt them down and kill them as they had killed Jesus. Perhaps they were also feeling a sense of shame at having run away and leaving Jesus to die alone. They too had no idea what they were supposed to do, particularly after Mary Magdalen had told them that she had seen Jesus alive. That seemed totally impossible to them. There was no way Jesus could come back from being crucified on Good Friday…or could he? If Jesus was alive, would he be angry with them? How could they face him again? They all were probably in shock, depressed, lost and perhaps angry and blaming each other.
And in the midst of all those emotions and upheaval, Jesus appears to them. In spite of the locked doors, somehow Jesus is right there with them. In spite of their hearts being closed down and locked with fear, anger, shame, doubt, depression and the sin of their cowardice and betrayal, Jesus is right there with them. And the first words out of Jesus’ mouth are not words of anger, bitterness, or insult. His first words to them are “peace be with you.”
My brothers and sisters, this is such amazing, good news, not just for the apostles, but for us today as well. This Gospel tells us two important things. First, it tells us that Jesus always comes to us where we are. He did not wait for the apostles to come to him; he came to them in their misery, their grief, their shame and their sin. In the same way Jesus comes to us just when we need him the most. We don’t have to get our lives together for Jesus to come to us. Those apostles in the upper room were probably at the lowest point of their lives, and that is exactly where and when Jesus came to them. The second thing this Gospel tells us is that the first thought Jesus has in his mind for us, his first words to us – even when we have sinned terribly – are “peace be with you.” Isn’t that great news? He does not yell at us or insult us or turn away from us. He simply wants us to come back to him and let him love us.
So, are you experiencing something that is shutting down your heart today? Is your heart locked with fear, anger, shame, doubt, depression, darkness or sin? What are you struggling with in your life? Whatever it is, wherever you are in your life, Jesus is telling you right now that he is with you; he is telling you, “Peace be with you.”
And he is also telling you to come out from behind those locked doors of your heart and come back to him. He is telling you to let go of your fear, anger, shame, doubt, depression, darkness or sin, to let him help you unlock those doors and come into his marvelous light.
My brothers and sisters, your heart and your life are not meant to be locked away. Staying behind closed doors may make you feel safe, but it keeps you from the people, the events and experiences that you need in order to grow into the person God wants you to be.
And the last thing we have to keep in mind is that this life-giving message is not just for us; it is meant for us to pass on to others, to help them come out from behind their locked doors. Maybe it’s your spouse or partner, your children or grandchildren, your siblings, your coworker or some other loved one who has enclosed and isolated themselves behind locked doors. Can you be Jesus for them? Can you bring reconciliation, healing, understanding and compassion to them and say, “Peace be with you?”
Brothers and sisters, let us open the doors of our hearts so that Jesus can enter more deeply into them, so that he can enlighten us with his grace and love, and so that we can bring the peace of Christ to others.
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