When doors open and when they close: A homily for Divine Mercy Sunday (A)

doorDoors are a beautiful image for divine mercy.  We see them in our Gospel today, the Gospel we always have on Divine Mercy Sunday.  It is the story of the first priests, congregated as they were in the Upper Room.  They had the door closed and locked.  Jesus came in anyway.  That is mercy.  Pope Francis picked up on this image of doors for mercy when he instituted the Holy Doors during the Year of Mercy.

Sometimes doors open for us.  That is mercy.  I think about when God gives a new job, or when a new relationship forms.  It is mercy that opens these doors!  Sometimes the doors of new opportunities and relationships open even when something that at first seems bad happens. I think about the story I use all the time of a couple that met because of a car accident.  Their kids owe their lives to a car accident!  Talk about a door that couple never would have sought out.  It is mercy.  God opens new doors for us all the time.  Puts the right people together at the right time. I’m think about Fr. Rick and Fr. Rodolphe. We’ve been hosting our Haiti priests this weekend.  The amount of assistance we as a parish provide our sister parish in Haiti, it is amazing, and it is largely because Fr. Rick and Fr. Rodolphe became friends in seminary. A big door opened there. It is mercy!  And because that door opened, so many other doors have opened and will open.

Sometimes, though, the doors do not open for us.  That, too, is mercy.  I read this line the other day that I can’t stop thinking about.  It is this.  “If the door doesn’t open, it’s not your door.”  Sometimes we are convinced a certain door is “our door.”  But, for reasons we may never know, it isn’t.  And God keeps it closed for good reason, and that reason is mercy.  Sometimes we are convinced that some job or some promotion is meant to be ours, but someone else gets it.  That’s because God has a different door in store for us.  I prayed a long time when I was younger for the perfect girl to walk into my life.  That door was not opened for me.  It is mercy!  Because had it opened, I wouldn’t be a priest.  I know many men who were in seminary where the opposite happened.  They prayed and prayed for a vocation to be a priest.  That is what they wanted.  But it didn’t happen, that door didn’t open.  Now they are married because the right door opened at the right time.  It is all mercy.  So many people waste so much time trying to break down some door that isn’t meant for them.

There is a door we must always keep open: the door of our hearts.  Listen to this from St. Faustina:  “All grace flows from mercy….God’s mercy is stronger than our misery. One thing alone is necessary; that the sinner set ajar the door of his heart, be it ever so little, to let in a ray of God’s merciful grace, and then God will do the rest.” (No. 1507).  It is our job to keep the door of our hearts open to God.  A sad thing happens when we try to shut God out.  Sometimes you see this with people.  They resist and resist and resist some more. They have an objection for everything.  But ultimately, even if it’s in their last breath, most people open the door.

And here’s some good news:  God knows how to break down the doors.  The apostles in Gospel today, they had the door closed and locked.  But Jesus came in anyways.  Thomas, the door of his heart was closed.  His mantra: “I will not believe!”  But then he sees Jesus, and he never has to put his finger in his side….he falls on his knees and confesses God’s mercy.

Jesus is the source of all mercy.  In the Eucharist, he enters our doors and dwells within us….so that he lives in us….and together, Jesus mixed with us, we can be sources of mercy and grace for a world that needs it so much!