Revelations 3: 1-6, 14-22
Luke 19: 1-10
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me."
Have you ever felt left out? Many of us have had this experience during our lives. It can even happen in our experience of family. We believe that our parents favor one or more of our siblings over us. High School seems to be a rich environment for feeling excluded. There are so many groups and cliques in our high school years, few of us don’t carry a few scars from that time in our lives. Even at work, we often find there is an "in group" that has the greatest influence in the work environment. Yes, in almost every aspect of our lives there seem to be favorites…and the "not-so-favored!"
Given that oh-so-common human experience, it’s not all that surprising that we can transfer that same sense of inclusion-exclusion to our relationship with God. We wonder whether God loves us, hears us, or cares about us. We find ourselves saying such things as, "I hope I’ll get to heaven, but…" I suppose it’s a natural reaction because most of us are so aware of the sin and selfishness that lies deep in our hearts even though others may not even see it. This uncertainty can become a deep fear that somehow we just don’t measure up and so we are not worthy of God. And, we feel quite helpless in the face of this fear.
The Scripture readings today stand firmly on our side in this debate! The reading from the Book of Revelations speaks clearly, and uncomfortably, about the reality of our vanity, self-delusion and sinfulness. Yet it concludes that Christ will enter and be with "anyone (who) hears my voice and opens the door,…." We don’t have to be perfect, we don’t have to be in the favored group, we need only open the door to Christ and He will enter and be with us.
Today’s Gospel certainly confirms the message from the Book of Revelation. Jesus Himself tells his disciples that, "the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost." Clearly, to be included in the "in-crowd" around Jesus is well within our own hands. We need only open ourselves to Him and welcome Him into our lives. May we all receive this grace today as we invite Christ into our lives.
Fr. Michael Higgins, C.P. is the director of the Development Office for Holy Cross Province and is stationed at Immaculate Conception Community in Chicago.