HOMILY FOR THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C
THEME: THE GATE IS OPEN
BY: Fr Livinus C. Igbodekwe
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY MAY 22 2022
No one enters into a grand building or city without first gaining access through a gate. Big cities in the Bible like Jerusalem, Jericho and Babylon have gates, which served security purposes for the people of the cities. When the gates are opened it means there’s access, and when they are closed, it means there’s no access. And the walls of the cities are so high that no unwanted person could climb over it no matter how hard the person tries.
Our Lord Jesus says, “I am the gate to the sheepfold.” This statement assures believers of divine protection from the ‘prowling enemy’, the devil. We are so secure that Jesus is our gate. It is so baffling that Christians seem to be the most fearful group of people. They are afraid of so many things – dark powers and evil forces, as if they have forgotten that Jesus is at the gate of their life. We must stand secure and keep our hearts on the Word of God, which is our light and our salvation. We shall not fear.
In our readings today, we are introduced to three ‘gates’, namely: the Harvest gate; the Heaven’s gate and the Heart’s gate.
1. The Harvest Gate: The earth is God’s harvest field. And the harvest is the harvest of souls. Jesus Christ, Our Lord, in Matt 9:36,37, sees the house of Israel as scattered like sheep without a shepherd, and he felt deep compassion for them. And He sent His disciples on ’emergency harvest’ only to the lost sheep of Israel. In Lk 10:2, He asks His disciples to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest, for they are few. At this point in time, the gate of the harvest was open only to Israel. It took the death and resurrection of Jesus, Our Lord, for that Gate of Harvest to be opened for the Gentiles. The conversion of St Paul was the climax of the mission to the Gentiles. But, there was a problem. What about the traditional heritage of circumcision that made Israel first and foremost, the people of God? The Jewish Christians submitted that the Law of Circumcision must bind the Gentile Christians as well. That means they have to become Jews before they can become Christians. At the end, the Holy Spirit carried the day, and the matter was resolved, and the gentiles received the Gospel with joy. They entered, and still enter into the gate of the harvest without unnecessary hindrances. Let us, who are already in the harvest try not to put obstacles on the way of the returning sheep. Jesus Christ is the only necessary requirement to get saved.
2. Heaven’s Gates: the second reading talks of the 12 gates of heaven and the decorated, sparkling and precious Jerusalem coming down upon the high mountain where John (the Seer) and the “tour Angel” are. It is an amazing sight to behold. The number 12 symbolises universality. The four cardinal points with three gates each, represents the four corners of the earth. The 12 foundation stones represent the authentic gospel preached by the 12 Apostles of the Lamb that has the power to save anyone. This all mean that anybody from any part of the world, that holds fast to the authentic gospel to the end, will gain access to the beautiful Heavenly City of Jerusalem. May we try hard to enter it!
3. Heart’s Gate: the Gospel talks of the heart’s gate which will grant God assess into us. And the key for opening the gate of our hearts to Jesus, The Father, and The Holy Spirit to come and make home with us is LOVE. Love is the spring of Divine Communion. It is only when we live in love that we can say that God lives in us. And it is only Love can open the heaven’s gate for us. No wonder, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31), Jesus tells us of Lazarus not gaining access to the rich man’s table, but at death later, gained access to the heavenly gate, while the rich man was shut out for lack of love. It was the gate of Hell that admitted him. And it was not funny for him. Let us shun every manner of enmity and hatred and live in love, so as to be able to gain access to Heaven’s gate. Amen
Happy Sunday to you!