January 22, 2023
In our part of the world we usually enter a place through a door. Now that being said, there are all types and sizes of doors. And around here most of our doors have locks on them. You can only enter if you are welcome! Doors are used for our safety and to keep unwanted animals and extreme temperatures out as well. Doors are also seen as a way in, or a weaker part of the fortress walls used for entry.
In my years of earthly labor I have installed all types of doors, residential, commercial and even large barn doors. I have installed switches on doors for security systems and installed magnetic locks on doors to control entry that 1200 lbs of brute force could not open. Mankind has certainly developed away to secure his cave! And we too are installing some big heavy Fir wood doors now at our new church! Come and see!!
The Holy Scripture just recently spoke about a door during the Nativity of Christ from the great Profit Ezekiel: “And the LORD said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut.”” (Ezekiel 44:2) The Mother of God remains a virgin, the door stayed shut! And then we hear in Mathew this warning for those who tarry and just can’t be here in time: “But while they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and they who were ready went in with him to the wedding festivities; and the door was shut. [Mt. 25:10] And then these words from our Lord in the Gospel reading this morning: “I am the door; by Me if anyone should enter, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out and find pasture. [Jn. 10:9]
Saint Gregory the Great writes about the wedding door: “How the blessed will rejoice in their recompense! They are the blessed who are vouchsafed to enjoy that vision of Him, in Whose presence the elements tremble; and they will go in with Him to the marriage. At the same time, as they rejoice in the nuptials of the Bridegroom, they themselves will be the bride: for, in the bridal chamber of the everlasting kingdom, they are united forever to their God. Thenceforth that vision can never be snatched from their possession.” [“The Ten Virgins,” 53, 54.] [Mt. 25:10b.]
Saint Gregory the Great also instructs about John 10: “‘He shall go in and go out and find pasture.’ He shall go in to faith. He shall go out from faith to vision, from belief to contemplation. He shall find pasture in everlasting refreshment. His sheep shall find pasture because whoever follows Him with a guileless heart is nourished with a food of everlasting freshness. What are the pastures of these sheep but the everlasting joys of an ever green paradise? The pasture of the elect is the countenance of God in person. When we see Him perfectly our hearts are endlessly satisfied with the food of life. Those who have evaded the traps of temporary pleasures rejoice in those pastures with the fullness of eternity. There are choirs of angels singing hymns, there the company of heavenly citizens....” [Hom. 15, Forty Gospel Homilies, 110, 111; Hom. 14, P.L. 76 (col. 1127).] [Jn. 10:9.]
We all know the story about St. Mary of Egypt in that a force prevented her unrepented soul from entering the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. There is certainly life after death for those who head this warning: having good intentions without actions or worshipping earthly gods that steal our limited precious time away will prevent us all from enjoying that great feast. There is only One Way In! So I ask: in the last day, which side of the door will you be found?
Fr. Gabriel Weller 1-22-2023
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