Behold, I stand at the door and knock. We Catholics immediately know this Gospel passage, and we picture Jesus requesting entry into our lives, into our hearts.
This is a wonderful image, especially with Easter on our minds. But Pope Francis has shed a new light on it by turning it around and prompting us to think about it as New Evangelists. Sometimes, he says, Jesus may be knocking from inside and asking to go forth from the Church, from our hearts, into the world through us.
Now that’s an even more compelling image–to be pondered by the Church, by the professional writer, by the Catholic educator, by all Catholics with roles in the public square. We are called to accept the Lord into a close personal relationship, but we are also sent–in the closing words of every Mass. We must go forth to give glory to the Lord through our lives.In a sense, we must be releasing Christ’s love into the world wherever we go.
This is a key mission of the Catholic school and a reason why so many graduates of these schools have gone forth to make excellent contributions, through the values they’ve learned, to the lives of their families, their communities, their Church, and the world. Thus, Catholic schools are a beautiful tool of evangelization, including the New Evangelization to disengaged Catholics.
Likewise, someone entrusted with the mission of communicating to the world as a writer must help send forth the Good News to others through well-chosen words of faith, hope, and charity. Gifted writers are not given the gift so that they might hoard it. Powerful words can be the instruments through which the Lord’s message bursts forth from our hearts and lovingly breaks through the barriers set up by the disengaged and the disheartened.
On this Easter, when the tomb of Jesus is found empty, it’s exciting to think of our Risen Lord using our vocations (in education, in communications, and in many other fields) to become a “doorbuster” to enter hearts and bring hope.
PS — If you like the kind of judo-flip that Pope Francis does with the image of Jesus knocking, you’ll appreciate the eye-opening explanation that ACE’s Father Joe Corpora gives to the parable of the unjust judge. See the great six-minute video. Remember the parable about the widow pleading ceaselessly to the unjust judge until he gives her what she wants? Father Joe explains that it’s helpful to see ourselves as the unjust judge. As with Jesus knocking, the kingdom of heaven is persistently requesting that we — as individuals and as a world hungry for love, holiness, and justice — pay attention and humbly receive the gifts of grace persistently offered to us, so that we might find true peace.