The last book of the Scriptures is the Book of Revelations. Here we find seven letters that John wrote to the main communities of the early Church. One of these churches was the Christian population in Loadicea, Turkey.
The final exhortation is really beautiful. “The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation, says this: … Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
Jesus Christ knocks constantly at our door. What makes him knock? Love makes him knock. How does He knock? He knocks as a beggar! The hand that knocks is wounded and shows the imprint of nails. One day He will knock as the Risen Victorious Son of God. His eyes will be like flaming fire and His feet like burnished brass.
Why does He knock? Scripture is clear. He wants to come ‘and eat with us’. Dinner in a Semitic mentality is not a question of gulping down food. Eating together is a moment of familiarity. He wants to come in and establish a close, personal, intimate relationship with us.
Saint Isaac of Nineveh, Syria says, “Purify yourself and you will see heaven in yourself. In yourself you will see angels and their brightness and you will see their Master with them and in them.” And the Greek Saint John Chrysostom dares to say, “Find Jesus at the door of your heart and you will discover paradise!” How beautiful!
In what way does He knock? He knocks through the joyous experiences of our life. Someone calls these knocks… ‘appetizers for heaven’. The glare of the sun, the blue of the ocean, the chirping of the birds, the smile of a baby, a refreshing watermelon, a delicious ice cream, the chaste attraction of a boy for his girlfriend, the self sacrificing love of a parent, a peaceful moment of prayer, a good word from a friend… Who could possibly come up with so many ingenious reminders except The Lover?
A little girl asked excitedly as the family car sped through the country, “Did you see that rainbow?” “No” the others replied. “Then God must have made it just for me!”
He knocks through our failures and sorrows. Our health fails, we lose a job, one of our sons goes astray, our home is broken up, a loved one dies… suddenly we are no longer self sufficient. It is Him knocking, trying to get our attention. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience but shouts to us in our pain: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
We also need to face “the shocking reality that Jesus stands at the door and knocks … in the form of a homeless person, in the form of a ruined human being in torn clothing. He confronts you in every person you meet…”
There is a famous picture painted by Holman Hunt that depicts Jesus knocking at the door. A father and a son were watching it. “Why is it daddy that they do not let Jesus in?” the kid asked. “I do not know, son!” was the frank answer. After a few moments of silence, the boy gave his input, “Perhaps dad, they live in the basement; they cannot hear the knock on the door!” This perhaps answers the question why even though He knocks so persistently, many of us do not hear and never open
We spend most of our lives in the basement of sin, self centeredness, self pity… Too many voices, too much noise… computer, television, news, ‘fun’ …they all deafen our ears and our hearts. Sad!
What happens when we open the door? Ask Zacchaeus. Ask Mary Magdalene. Ask the saints. One Christian answered this way. “He came into the darkness of my life and turned on the light. He built a fire in the cold hearth and banished the chill. He started music where there had been stillness and He filled the emptiness with His own loving, wonderful fellowship. I never regretted opening the door to Christ and I never will – not into eternity.”
A Jew once noted, “The times are so bad. Why has the Messiah not arrived?” And someone answered, “He did come but we left Him standing outside!” Do not let this happen to you today! Open the door.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.