Beyond Locked Doors

May 20, 2018

On this Feast of Pentecost the Gospel of John tells us that the doors were locked at the place the disciples were staying.  It goes on to say they were locked out, out of fear.  The movement of the Holy Spirit, celebrated on this solemnity is to move us from fear to courage, from being locked behind doors to courageously living the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  It is always found in movement.  This movement is first and foremost an interior journey.  Long before we can live in the movement of courage to share our faith, we must travel deep within ourselves with the same courage to know who we are. This is more difficult than the exterior journey.  The Gospel tells us the disciples were afraid of the Jews.  The disciples were Jewish.  They were afraid in some ways of themselves and what they had become by following Jesus.  Even though we take in the breath of the Holy Spirit when we are Confirmed in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, our interior journey still has not gone as deeply as it could.  The disciples were in that kind of place.  Inside them, their own beliefs had found new meaning in Jesus.  Their old rituals had found new depth in Christ and it left them in fear.  It isn’t until they take a deeper breath, not until they come to know the Jesus locked behind the door with them, that they can breathe ever more deeply and find peace.  When Jesus offers them peace in those post resurrection appearances, He is inviting them to go deeper into this new place where they find themselves.

The Lord wants us to go to those places deep within, the places we have locked up, and he wants to bring forgiveness and healing.  He longs to stand with us there and offer us peace.  He longs for us to know His forgiveness in those very places.  Before we can live faith freely and openly, we must do the interior work.  We must go to the places within that we fear, that we don’t accept.  It might be sin, it might be a horrible event that we suppress, it might be a mistake of the past that continues to haunt; whatever it is, it is there that Jesus wants to bring the Holy Spirit to heal.  He wants to breathe peace into that interior place.  When He does, we have a choice to make.  We can continue to lock it up and keep it unforgiven, or we can forgive it with the Lord’s help and trust with courageous love the new life Jesus offers.

It is easy to proclaim boldly the love of Jesus.  It is easy to utter words about the Risen Lord and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, yet to know them from within is to unlock the doors of our faith journey.  Jesus has the keys; He wants to make it real for us.  This Pentecost allow the places of fear to be transformed.  Allow the places of pain to be healed, allow the places of weakness to find strength. Let Him unlock the doors and bring you a peace that the world cannot give.

Reverend John J. Ouper