Jul 6, 2019

walking together, knocking on doors

Luke 10: 1-12

How do we as Christians transform our society and culture to reflect the Kingdom of God - the influential grace of Christ’s presence His Church can bring about in our world?

Or, maybe a more fundamental question we need to reflect upon is do we want Christ’s influence in our society or would it instead be preferable to keep his influence private and personal?

Consider again the Gospel we have just listen to. Christ himself is not content simply to forge private relationships. We see him forming a team to go out and engage the world. And there is a sense of urgency. It is also dangerous, because to accept the whole message of Christ’s Good News will necessarily involve a change of values, new types of relationships, a new structure for society.

This is because in this portion of the gospel, Christ sends his team out, not to debate, form committees or to set up programs. We already have all that! Instead, what he offers seems rather drastic - “Here is the message of salvation, take it or leave it. Live it wholeheartedly or ignore it completely”. In other words, you cannot sit on the fence. You have to, at some point, make a radical decision first.

But notice how Christ’s team of disciples present him and his radical message of the Good News of salvation. Christ does not send them out like an army of stormtroopers or on horses like knights in shining armor. They do not break down doors, make forced entry or arrive at your house like city code inspectors. Instead, the first word they are to communicate is “peace” - shalom. Peace, not a generic peace, but a communication of God‘s peace - the same peace that the angels of Bethlehem announced to the world when Christ was born: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to people of goodwill.”

The Good News of the Kingdom of God resonates with that divine peace and goodwill. When we resonate with it, another door is open, a door that Christ himself can enter into and be received. But what if the door is closed in our face? Do we try to break in, force the lock or stand outside annoyed or angry, thumping the door until we force someone to open it?

In the portion of the gospel we have just heard, Christ simply says, move on. You’ve said your piece (peace). Seek out instead households, communities, and individuals of goodwill – even in the midst of the battlefield.

If you want a graphic example of this in action, you only have to look at the events that took place on Calvary. While he was being tortured and slowly crucified to death, Christ did not respond with anger, nor did he engage in a debate, nor did he turn up the heat or call down fire from heaven. Instead he prayed asking his heavenly father to forgive them all, all of them.

Even in the midst of conflict and violence, the Gospel of Peace on earth that Christ witnessed to, did not close doors. It opened the door to heaven to a thief who was crucified alongside him. It opened the door of a Roman soldier’s heart who witnessed the way our Lord died after being crucified. Both the thief and the soldier where in the right place at the right time when the peace of Christ passed by their house. They recognized the unique opportunity, they open the door and they let Christ enter.

Christ will not send any of us out to change the world, nor will we have any chance of doing so, if we have not first heard him knocking at our own door, and in a decisive moment, welcomed him in and accepted his gift of peace.

We have this opportunity here and now as we enter into the sacrifice of the Mass and prepare ourselves for Holy Communion with Christ, bringer of a new world order initiated by his death and resurrection. When he knocks at your door, in whatever form he takes, please open it, accept his gift of peace and invite him to stay with you. Offer him the charity of your food and drink. Then you can invite your neighbors in and introduce him to them, one by one.

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