Pax et Bonum!
Nobody likes being locked out of some place where they want to go. In fact, is there any worse feeling in the whole wide world, than getting some where, walking up to the door, pulling on the door and finding it locked, and then realizing that nobody is coming to let you in? It’s that sinking feeling when you realize that you are not getting in. It happens at the bank. It happens at the post office. It can even happen here at church. It happens routinely at the license branch, when there’s always some sixteen-and-a-half-year-old, who’s waited their entire life to get their driver’s license, and the day comes and they go to the license branch and they are closed. One night, last week I needed to stop at Kroger, our Kroger, St. Maria Goretti’s Kroger down the street here, to buy a birthday card, and it was late. Isn’t that the wildest place? At any given time you can find a lot more than two or three of us from St. Maria Goretti, gathered in that Kroger there at 161st St, so does that mean that God is in our midst in Kroger, if there are so many Catholics in there at one time? It’s one of the mysteries of the Church. There are so many Catholics in our Kroger on Sunday morning, that sometimes I think we should just add a Mass there. Anyways. I go to walk into our Kroger store, and it was late, and I wasn’t paying attention, and that store is open 24-hours-a-day. But I went to walk in on the right, as we all always do, but the door was locked. More accurately, the electric door, which always opens on its own, didn’t open. Instead there was a little note that said “Use Other Door”. But did I see that note? No. Instead, because I was walking and texting, I walked right straight into that locked door, and made a loud bang. Not to mention, that it also made a large bump on my forehead. There was a lady in the produce section there that gave me a dirty look. I thought, “Hey, lady, this is St. Maria Goretti’s Kroger, unlock the door!” She just pointed to the other door.
Locked doors are not fun. We come to Mass today and Jesus is telling us another one of His parables, this one, about who will be saved, those who will get to enter into Heaven. He’s talking about getting to Heaven, and finding the doors locked. Jesus says, “There will be wailing and grinding of teeth”.
Can there be any greater sadness, or disappointment, or complete despair, then standing outside the gates of Heaven and realizing that you aren’t going to get to go in? It must be horrible. Plus, as this Gospel indicates, and as it is indicated in other places in the Gospel, there must be some way that we are going to be able to see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the whole crew, inside enjoying Heaven, enjoying what those who are locked out, will never get to enjoy. That makes it even worse! And you know, we might think that we’re going to be able to argue ourselves in. Hey, Lord let me in! Come on Lord, you know me! I went to Mass once in awhile. I had a Bible sitting on coffee table. I bought an Italian Festival T-shirt AND a St. Maria Goretti license plate. But what if Jesus looked you and said, “I don’t even know you. Depart from me, all you evildoers!” It would be horrible. It would be like the worst kind of nightmare.
Well, my brothers and sisters, the way and the time, to avoid that scene after we die, is right now. We must live our lives knowing Christ right now, and we need to make sure that He knows us. We can’t be strangers to God, and then show up one day at the gates of Heaven, saying let me in. We have to know now that that’s not the way that it works. We can ignore God now in this world. It’s our choice. We can build our own kingdoms and our own treasures in this world. We have Free Will. We can live our lives any way that we want to, making all kinds of terrible choices and believing the lies that the devil tells us. But we must know that there are ramifications to all of our choices. And we need to know, that every day there are souls showing up at the gates of Heaven, and they aren’t getting in. The door is locked. And we may not like that at the post office, or the bank, or the grocery store, but let me assure you, the one place you are not going to want to get locked out of, is Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven.
Make things right now. Follow Jesus today. Get to know God through prayer today. Make the right choices and do the right thing. And you will have nothing to worry about. They will be waiting on us. And the door, or the gate, will be open.
May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!