HOMILY for the 30th Wed per annum (II)
In many countries tonight people will come “from east and west, and from north and south”, from all over the place, dressed in all kinds of costumes and guises, of figures both dead and alive. And they will knock on doors in search of a sweet treat. And in a strange way, this popular secular ritual, which is often just a bit of fun, can point to some important lessons found in today’s Gospel. For, if you think about it, pretending to be one of the dead and going ‘trick or treating’ is like acting out today’s parable. On that Day after our death, each of us, wherever we come from, shall knock on the door of heaven. And we hope that the Lord will open the door to us, and give us admission to the sweet feast of heaven – an eternal ‘treat’, so to speak, with all the saints.
But in fact, we rehearse for this great Day every day of our lives and not just on Halloween’s. Except that here in the land of the living, in our lives right now, the roles are reversed. It is not we who knock on heaven’s door, but rather it is the Lord who stands at the door of our hearts, knocking, and asking to be admitted. Each day of our lives, Jesus invites us to open our hearts to him, so that he can come in and have communion with us. As the book of Apocalypse says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Apoc 3:20). So, we are being invited each and every day to open our hearts to Love.
If we do open our hearts to Christ, to Love, then we receive, already in this life, the sweetest treat of all. For the Holy Trinity comes to dwell in our hearts, filling us with the sweetness of divine grace; it is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet and the enjoyment of the saints. So, we don’t just eat and drink in Christ’s presence, but, most importantly, because we have opened our hearts to him, Christ enters in to eat and drink with us, and we with him; we have holy communion with the Lord, and are united to him in love.
This is what we do each day in the Mass. Here, in the Liturgy, we have a foretaste of the heavenly feast of the prophets and saints. Here, today, the Lord comes to us, and he knocks at the door of our hearts. In saying ‘Amen’, we let him in and have communion with him; we allow his grace to transform us, so that we don’t just put on the guise of Love and the costume of a Christian, but we become Love.
For our hope is that, when we knock on the Lord’s door after death, he will thus open heaven to us, and say: “I do know where you come from. I recognize you because you have my face – the face of one who loves”. Hence the Catechism reminds us that “at the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love” (CCC 1022), on whether we have let Christ in and allowed his grace to transform and re-fashion us in his own image, the image of Incarnate Love.