Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock

Today is the optional memorial of St. John the first, pope and martyr.  He was the Pope from about 523 until his death in 526.  During his papacy, Emperor Justin was forcing the Arians of Constantinople to convert to Catholicism and to hand over their churches.  The Arian King of Italy, Theodoric, asked the Pope to order the Emperor to stop the harsh punishment of the Arians.  Justin decided to give the churches back to the Arians, but he would not let the forced converts go back to their old ways.  When Pope John came back, Theodoric was enraged, and imprisoned the Pope for his failure.  Due to his long journey and maltreatment in prison, the Pope died shortly after being placed in his cell.  He was immediately honored as a martyr by the Church, and his body was taken to be buried in Rome.

Anyway, there are two sets of readings to honor this saint.  The first is the standard readings for the 7th Week of Easter, and the other comes from the proper of the saints.  The first reading for the latter option comes from Revelation 3:14, 20-22 :

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Most of us are probably familiar with this scene.  Jesus is wanting you to let him into your heart etc.  There is a famous painting made from this passage by William Holman Hunt called “The Light of the World”.  Take a few moments to study this carefully.

Hunt_Light_of_the_WorldIt’s called the Light of the World probably because the only source of light you can see is from Jesus and his lamp.  The rest of his surrounding look nasty and dangerous.  The kind of stuff scary stories take place in.  “It was a dark and stormy night when Jesus came for a visit”.  There are thorn bushes and weird trees.  The sky is a sickly green.  Even the cottage has vines of all of it.  Speaking of the house, have you noticed anything a little strange about it?  Maybe on the door perhaps?  If you guessed that there’s no door knob, you’d be correct.  At least, there’s no knob on the outside.  You have to be the one to let Jesus in.  Now on to the lantern.  To me, it looks a lot like the dome of a Church.  It even appears to have little stained-glass windows on it.  I wonder what that might mean?  Maybe that without the church, it would be next to impossible to even see Jesus coming, much less let him in.  You might not even know that He existed.

Jesus appears to be wearing some pretty fancy clothes.  I mean, he has a crown on, one of those cool silk robes.  He even has a cape!  I don’t think a farmer would put on those kinds of clothes to go visit someone in the bad part of the woods.  He’s the prince who has come to bring you back to the kingdom.  He’s come to save you.  All you have to do is open the door.

The psalm for today is the every famous psalm 23: The Good Shepherd.  One of the things I always notice is “He makes me lie down in green pastures”.  Usually a shepherd will guide his flock to a nice shady place with lots of grass where they can eat and rest.  One of the things I think is “But I don’t want to lie down”.  I don’t like laying down in grass.  My body gets really itchy and my clothes get stained.  Sometimes I like sitting down in the grass though.  It can be nice at times.  When you have a glass of lemonade and the breeze is blowing in your face.  Again, sometimes it annoys the living daylights out of me.  I think this applies to my life, especially in certain areas like prayer or going to church.  Sometimes I enjoy Mass.  Father’s homily might be short and sweet, but have a special meaning for me.  As a long-time altar server, the Mass might go perfectly without any mess-ups.  At other times, Mass might not be that fun.  Father might have taken about an hour on his homily and not be even that meaningful.  All the other altar servers might be the kind of kids who kick the bells, or hit the priest in the face when they try to bless him with the incensor.  I might have had a really bad day, or all 6 of my little siblings might have screamed the entire ride there.  As far as prayer goes,

10940474_779990425382860_7356585953079381231_n1I make myself do my prayers, but I seldom actually pray, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, getting back to the analogy, sometimes I don’t want to lay in green pastures.  It’s good for me and I need the nourishment, but sometimes it’s boring or stressful.  But I do it because I know I need to.  I mean, I don’t think grass tastes that good, even to sheep it can’t compare to a steak.  But Jesus wants me to, and that’s goo enough for me.  The rest of the psalm is really nice too.  “And Goodness and Mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life”.  Inspiring Stuff.

Well, I just wanted to end asking if you have ever noticed that the Shrine of the Sacred Heart looks just like R2-D2?

550002_153824544767296_831932518_n

Well, that’s it for today.  I hope you all hear Jesus knocking at your door today, and for the rest of your lives.  God Bless!

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6 thoughts on “Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock

  1. I like your point on doing things that you may not enjoy but is necessary and your comparison of us as sheep. Also thanks for sharing that picture of Jesus knocking on the door…Pictures do tell a thousand words. On the topic of popes, what exactly does the pope do, and what does he play in our lives? I know there have been bad popes in the past…and a lot of criticism of him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you enjoyed this post. I was writing it when the wi-fi went out at my house and my computer wouldn’t load. So I restarted the computer forgetting to save the post. I had to start from scratch again. I happy to your curiosity of the Catholic faith. Yes, the Church has had some very bad Popes, just like this country has had some bad presidents. I literally just watched a video from Fr. Robert Barron on the Pope before I got the notification for your comment. God works in mysterious ways. The Pope is one of the biggest differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. Think of the Pope as the glue of the Church. As humans, we require a living voice of authority. Everything would fall apart without a visible leader (Anarchy). As awesome as we are, sometimes Catholics will disagree about how to do something (Liturgy, Doctrine, what to get for lunch, etc.) and the Pope is sort of the Judge. Tying back to your comment on “bad popes”, what happens if there is a bad pope? There’s something called Papal infallibility. It means that, when the pope lays down the law on Morals and Doctrine, he will be right. The Holy Spirit would not let the millions of followers of the largest religion in the country, and one of the largest in the world, all the sudden turn away from the truth because of the mistakes of one man. For more info on that issue visit http://www.catholic.com/tracts/papal-infallibility

      Catholic.com is the place to go if you ever have a question on Catholic teachings. Anyway, infallibility does not mean the Pope does not sin. JPII used to go to confession like every day. I have a hard time believing he had anything important to say. How I imagine the Pope’s confession: “Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I forgot to tip the valet who parked my popemobile”. I’m just kidding. Tying it al together, the pope is what keeps the Catholic faith from drifting off into, what, I think 140,000 different Christian denominations. Plus, they’re almost always extremely holy men and inspiring Christians. You might like the book The Protestant’s Dilemma: http://shop.catholic.com/books/apologetics/the-protestant-s-dilemma-set.html
      It starts off each chapter with a statement: If protestantism is true, then (something false) is true. It is by no way trying to be mean to protestants, it’s just showing how the Catholic faith is real. Speaking of Catholic.com, they have a radio show where anyone, of any faith, can call in for free with their questions about catholicism. this page has the calendar, look for a open forum, preferably with either tim staples or Jimmy Akin. http://www.catholic.com/radio/calendar

      Sorry about such a long reply, I probably started rambling a lot. I hope helped anyway. God Bless!

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  2. Excellent post and so well written. I like your post because they are heartfelt. I stared at the picture of Jesus, and after a little while it almost seems as if He stares back. I love the picture by the way also. Yes, sometimes we do have to make ourselves pray, lay down in green pastures and just take a breath. You know all of those things lead us in closer union with God. Most of my greatest moments with God are in my “green pastures.” Where there is no one, but He and I. When I hit that point, that is where He will speak to me so clearly. Great post and much wisdom! God Bless, SR

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much. I had to rewrite the entire thing when the wi-fi went out at my house and I didn’t save it as a draft. I spent a couple days in study of that picture way back when, and I figured I might as well write a post on it. I also really enjoyed your post on the saints, and I can’t wait for the one on Sola Scriptura! Thank you so much for your comment and your blog. God Bless!
      -catholic2themax

      Like

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