Pope: We need the Lord to open the doors of our hearts

By Christopher Wells, 7 July 2024


Pope Francis reflects on the image of ‘doors’ in his homily for the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul.

In his homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope reflected on the image of “doors” – the doors that opened up when Peter was freed from prison, and the metaphorical doors that opened for Paul when he was converted on the road to Damascus and later when opened the doors of evangelization.

For both Peter and Paul, the encounter with the Lord was “a true and properly paschal experience; they were set free: the doors of a new life opened before them.”

A new Exodus

Expounding on the first reading, Pope Francis noted that the miraculous release of St Peter recalled the experience of the Passover. “The account is that of a new Exodus. God delivers His Church, delivers His people who are in chains, and once again reveals Himself as the God of mercy who sustains them on the journey.”

The Pope goes on to remind the faithful that the doors to Peter’s prison were opened by the Lord. He also points out a curious detail: “the doors of the prison are opened through the strength of the Lord, but he struggles to enter into the house of the Christian community.” Pope Francis lamented that too often our communities “do not learn this wisdom of opening doors.”

A burning zeal for evangelization

Paul’s conversion, too, is primarily a “paschal” experience, the Pope continued. St Paul is changed by his encounter with Christ crucified. “Yet this does not lead to a consoling, inward-looking religiosity as some movements in the Church present to us today, a drawing room spirituality,” the Pope said. On the contrary, “the encounter with the Lord ignites in the life of Paul a burning zeal for evangelization.”

As he preached the Gospel, St Paul often used the image of open doors, a grace experienced also by St Peter. Both “witnessed first-hand the work of God, who opened the doors of their interior prisons but also the actual prisons into which they were thrown because of the Gospel.”

“The Lord also opened before them the doors of evangelization,” the Pope added, “so they could have the joy of encountering their brothers and sisters in the fledgling communities and bring the hope of the Gospel to all.”

Zealous shepherds who open doors

Then, recalling the Metropolitan Archbishops who received the pallium during the Mass, Pope Francis invited them, “in communion with Peter and following the example of Christ, the ‘gate for the sheep’” to be “zealous shepherds who open the doors of the Gospel, and through their ministry, help to build a Church and a society of open doors.”

Finally, after a word of greeting for the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Pope Francis prayed that Saints Peter and Paul might “help us to open the door of our lives to the Lord Jesus” before invoking their intercession “for us, for this City of Rome, and for the whole world.”

With thanks to Vatican News and Christopher Wells, where this article originally appeared.


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