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Graves Have Doors
“I am the gate.” It is a metaphor. Picture going to a cemetery and one of the graves has a door so the dead person can walk out. That would be ridiculous because dead people cannot walk through open doors. But Jesus says that tombs have doors. Remember when Lazarus was in the tomb for four days, and Jesus asked to have the stone in front of the opening removed? Martha opposed the idea because tombs do not have doors. So there is the Good Shepherd Who has the gatekeeper open the gate. And He calls His sheep by name–“Lazarus, come out.” The sheep hear His voice and the Shepherd leads them out to green pasture. Lazarus’s tomb had a door.
My mother was an artist who painted landscapes: sunsets in the Arizona desert, beaches of Cape Cod, covered wagons, etc. She painted just one portrait during her entire career: the Sacred Heart of Jesus. What was special about the painting was the face. Jesus looked like someone who was in love. I grew up with that image warm image. When my mother died, my father bought a tombstone with the Sacred Heart engraved on it. I went to my mother’s grave to see it. I wanted to see if the Lord’s face looked like someone Who was in love, as my Mother pictured Jesus. I have to say that when I arrived I became a bit distracted. The reason why is because my father had bought extra plots for me and my brother. I suddenly realized that I was standing on my own grave. It is a very strange feeling. I started to picture the day that I would be lowered into the ground. People would gather on that day to say a prayer, then leave. I would then be lowered into a concrete box and then they would throw dirt on top. No one from the group of mourners will come back with a shovel and say to me, “Peter, let’s get out of here.” Actually, there is one person Who will come back to my grave and say, “I am the resurrection and the life.” One person in my life can say, “I will come back to you and take you to Myself so that where I am, you also may be. One person can say “Whoever hears my voice will never die.” That is the person I will follow.
Be warned. You can come up with a thousand reasons not to follow the Lord. It is hard to pick up your cross daily; love enemies and pray for persecutors; forgive seventy times; rejoice when they persecute you. People will give you a thousand reasons not to follow Christ–“Why go to church on Sunday when there are so many other options? Why are you getting your kids baptized, let them decide later in life.” There may be a thousand reasons and voices out there to encourage you not to follow, but remember all you need is one reason to listen to His voice: “My grave will have a door.”
Let me ask this: Why was the stone removed from the opening of Jesus’s grave? So Jesus could get out? No, Jesus had a resurrected body. He could walk through locked doors. So why was it removed? It wasn’t to let Jesus out, but it was removed so that we could go in, and see. And what exactly do we see? We see that the grave now has a door. Jesus used a metaphor, “I am the gate.” Now we know what he meant.Back to All Homilies