HOMILY: Opening the Door of the Year of Faith. Knock and the Door Shall Be Opened
On this first day of the Year of Faith, let us open the door through Prayer and learn to live in the Heart of the Church for the sake of the world.
"The 'door of faith' (Acts14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church." With these words Pope Benedict XVI welcomed us to begin this Year of Faith.The Year of Faith, like all gifts, must be received and opened.
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - "The 'door of faith' (Acts14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church." With these words Pope Benedict XVI welcomed us to begin this Year of Faith. The words are taken from the letter with which he announced this season of conversion entitled "The Door of Faith".
He references the missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles at the beginning of the First millennium of Christianity. Upon their return ,"They called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith..."(Acts 14:27). That same door of faith is opening for you and me, the disciples Jesus has called on mission to the world of the Third millennium of Christianity. However, we need to knock, enter in and learn to live in the House.
The Gospel of today's Mass is an excerpt from the account of the physician/apostle St. Luke. The account follows immediately after the disciples found Jesus in prayerful communion with His Father. It is a continuation of that encounter. They ask him to "teach us to pray". (Luke 11:1) Jesus told them a story to communicate the mind of God as it relates to our invitation to prayerful communion as a way of life. It speaks to us about knocking on doors:
"And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within, `Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything'?" I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs. "
"And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks, receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:5-13)
The Year of Faith, like all gifts, must be received and opened. The image of the door invites us to reflect on the invitation we each were given when we entered into the Church, through the waters of the second womb of Baptism. Faith is a Verb, a call to a dynamic participation in the life of God; a call to be a part of His ongoing loving plan for the whole world as it continues through the Risen Christ who walks with us now in His Body, the Church, of which we are members. (1 Cor. 12:27)
This call engages our freedom. We must choose to knock, to enter into the House and then learn to live there. Jesus gives us the example of knocking on the door of the house of a friend in which the owner acts because of persistence. He then explains the relational context behind our own persistence in prayer. We are sons and daughters of "His Father and Our Father". (John 20:17).
In Jesus we can have the same relationship He has with the Father. The intimate communion the disciples witnessed when they came upon Him prayer. The same relationship they witnessed as they walked with Him daily. We now walk with Him daily. The same Christ, now raised from the dead, is in our midst. We simply need the eyes of faith to see Him and the renewed heart to accompony Him on the way. He is the Way, the Door (John 10:9) into the House of living faith.
Inside the House, we are capacitated by grace, made capable of living an entirely new way of life, and sent into the world to bring people in. In the words of the Apostle Peter, we become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1). In the Church we receive the grace mediated through the Sacraments, we are instructed in the Divine Life by the Word of God and we learn the new way of life. Prayer is the fuel which keeps that communion alive, precisely because it keeps faith alive.
God fashioned men and women as the crown of His creation, creating us in "His Image", precisely for this loving, relational conversation of life with Him. Living faith fuels that way of life. At the heart of understanding what it means to be created "in His Image" is understanding human freedom and what happened to our capacity to choose - and why we need to be saved from sin and saved for a new way of living, loving and serving.
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