by Ken Rolheiser
Knocking on the inside of heaven’s door

"I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door. It opens. I've been knocking from the inside." Rumi.

One thing I ask, this alone I seek, to dwell in the house of the Lord all my days, says Psalm 27:4. Most of us are seekers in this quest, unless we have consciously rejected God’s invitation given to us through Baptism, through our parents or elsewhere. We all struggle with the degree to which we are committed to this pilgrim journey.

The surprise that awaits many of us is that when we meet Jesus after the trials of this life, we will find an open door. In fact, we will find ourselves inside the door described by Rumi. Christ removed the veil separating us from heaven with his sacrifice on Good Friday.

This was a dramatic moment in our salvation history. It was punctuated with an earthquake that split rocks. Tombs were opened and the bodies of saints were raised and appeared to a number of people. (Matthew 27:51-52).

Just as in the Temple at Jerusalem, a “most holy place” was opened for us, similarly the door of the tomb was opened for us by the resurrection of Jesus. 

We have an historical invitation from God who chose the people of Israel as his people. This invitation extended to us when the Gentiles were included. In turn, we are invited to reach out to others: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17).

Two other invitations from Jesus are given to us. The first is: “Come to me , all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). And the second is: “Make your home in me as I make mine in you.” (John 15:4). If we choose to dwell in God, God will live in us.

God loved us first. He sent his Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:9-12).

Once we have accepted Christ and committed to following God’s call, then we are on more sure ground. Like King David or St Peter, we may struggle with life’s temptations and reveal our weaknesses, but Jesus is there to forgive us through the action of the Cross.

Then there is little to fear. Death may threaten us, and when that long black cloud is comin’ down, 
It’s getting’ dark, too dark to see
I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door
(Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”)

(480 words)