JN 20: 1-10

There are two types of gates I knew when I was growing up in the province. The first kind of gate was the closed gate, normally belonging to the rich families of the place and enclosing therein huge houses. The gate was always closed so you need to shout to get the owner’s attention when you want to see them or visit them. The closed gate is a sign of prohibition. It is meant to secure the people inside from the unwanted people outside. It gives a feeling of security from bad elements and safety from the intruding eyes and tongues of neighbors.

Another kind of gate was the open gate. Yes, there was a gate but it was rarely closed. It was simply open, revealing what’s inside – normally a modest house with a simple but beautiful garden, and the owner’s children playing in their yard. This open gate is a sign of welcome. While you don’t need to feel at home in the owner’s property, at least you know that they appreciate people stopping by for a chat or for a drink of water, or for a casual, friendly visit.

The Lord Jesus uses a strange image to describe himself. In the gospel, he calls himself a gate, but an open, not closed, gate. The sheep can enter in and go out and find pasture. The gate welcomes anyone who desires life and abundant life! This reminded me of the gates of Paradise, which after the Fall of our first parents was shut by God, with an angel guarding its entrance. With sin, the gates to God’s house was closed to us; it became inaccessible; it became off-limits.

The Resurrection broke open the gates of Paradise. With the death of Jesus, forgiveness flowed to all the world, and the mercy of God flooded the rest of history. At the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, life with God, eternal life, was unleashed for all who want to come and partake of it. This is why Jesus truly is the “gate” – through him, the Father is once again welcoming, receiving, giving. This is the source of great joy and deep peace for us who seek the Lord.

The Resurrection also reminds us that we too, are gates. Depending on how we treat people, we can be closed gates or open gates. We can be people who avoid others, who reject others, who eliminate others from our sight. Such closed gates are symptoms of fear, insecurity, sadness and anger; there is no peace, no joy. With the Risen Jesus at our side, we can also choose to be open gates like him; open to reconciliation, open to forgiveness, open to give new chances, open to restore others after their fall. An open gate is a powerful sign of a strong faith, a stable hope, and an active love – all gifts from the Risen One!

Today, let us thank the Lord for opening heaven for us and inviting us to enter. Let us also ask the Lord to make us open gates where people can find the pathway to the Lord and his community. Amen.