April 1999

Those who were listening to Jesus were familiar with the image of the door, through the dream of Jacob and also through the ancient portals of Jerusalem that God particularly loved. But these words are from Psalm 118:20: “This door is the Lord’s; the just shall enter it”, words which Jesus took as His own, rendering them new and rich with meaning. He is the door to salvation, who leads us to pastures where divine goods are freely given. He is the one and only mediator and through him men and women can go to the Father. “He is the door to the Father -says Ignatius of Antioch -through whom have entered Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, the apostles and the Church”.

«I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture.» (Jn 10:9)

Yes, the image of the door surely touched the hearts of the Jews; passing through the gates of the Holy City and the Temple, they had experienced a feeling of peace and unity, and the prophets had made them dream of a new Jerusalem whose doors were open to all nations.
Jesus presents himself as the one who fulfills the divine promises and the expectations of a people whose story is marked by an alliance it has never revoked with its God.
The idea of the door is similar to and is very well explained by another image used by Jesus: “I am the way, no one goes to the Father except through me”. Therefore He is truly a way and an open door that leads to the Father, to God Himself.

«I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture.» (Jn 10:9)

Practically speaking, what does this Word of Life mean?
Other passages of the Gospel have implications similar to this phrase of John. But from among them, we will choose that of the “narrow door” through which we must strive to enter so as to enter into life.
Why did we choose this? Because we feel that perhaps it is the closest to the truth that Jesus says of himself; and it best enlighten us on how to live it.
When does he become the wide open door, completely open to the Trinity? In that moment in which the door of Heaven seemed to close for him, he became the door of heaven for us all.
Jesus Forsaken is the door through which a perfect exchange between God and humanity takes place: having made himself nothing, he united us children to the Father. It is through that emptiness (the opening of the door) that man comes in contact with God and God with man.
So he is at the same time the narrow door and the wide open door, and we ourselves can experience this.

«I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture.» (Jn 10:9)

In the abandonment Jesus himself became our access to the Father.
He did his part. But to take advantage of such a big grace, each one of us must do his or her small part, which consists in approaching that door and going beyond it. How?
When we are disappointed or wounded by a trauma, an unexpected misfortune or an absurd illness, we can recall the suffering of Jesus who impersonated all these, and a thousand other difficulties as well.
Yes, he is present in everything that speaks of suffering. Every suffering of ours can be named after him.
So let us try to recognize Jesus in every anguish, in all the difficult situations of our life, in every darkness, in our personal misfortunes and that of others, in the sufferings of humanity which surrounds us. All these are him because he has taken them upon himself. It would be enough to tell him, with faith, “You, Lord, are my only good”. It would be enough to do something concrete so as to alleviate “his” sufferings in the poor and in those who are unhappy, so as to go beyond the door and to find on the other side a joy we had never experienced before, a new fullness of life.

Chiara Lubich

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