The Red Door of Holy Thursday
Apr 19, 2019
According to early American history, a red door signified that a home was welcoming. The red door was a way of communicating to tired travelers, traveling by horse and buggy, that this was a safe place to rest for the night and have a warm meal.
But long before that tradition took place here in the states God instituted a greater tradition that to this day and especially on this very night we do in Memory of Him whose hospitality in Incarnate, Risen and Eucharistic form provides for us the safest place to rest and the most satisfying meal…the Church and the Mass:
They shall take some of the Lamb’s blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house…the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood I will pass over you.
Why is the Lamb’s blood placed on that part of the house? It is of course the entrance…once you cross that threshold you enter into more than just a building…or even a household…it is a home… and home is as they say where the heart is because what makes a house a home is not that it is well furnished…but the people who live, love, support, teach and forgive there…
The most sacred space in a Church is called the sanctuary…a sanctuary is also a place of refuge…where one goes and one is made to feel safe and protected…both definitions refer to a home…a sacred place…a sanctuary where one feels loved, protected, and guarded…
The threshold also serves as an exit…where having so positive an experience of modeled love, support, acceptance, care, moral instruction and deep family bonding one is able to carry this confidence, this courage, this desire to care into the not so friendly, not so warm, not so safe world…in the hopes of transforming it by encountering one person, one soul, one lost child of God at a time…
And so for us as Catholics there is no greater threshold to cross over and back than Church…it is where entering we encounter Jesus Christ who insists that we call God OUR FATHER…which then emphatically implies we are then each other’s brother and sister…
and further is this family household extended and those family ties of intimacy and communion made stronger because it includes Mary as Our Mother…for what is a home without a Mom, especially this most expert and happiest of all home-makers, plus all the Angels and Saints beginning with our Guardian Angel and the Mighty Saint Michael the Archangel who defends us in battle and wherever our Faith happy feet happen to fall in this world.
Can we then imagine being any more protected, supported, instructed, cared for and about than being a proud and active part of the one holy catholic and apostolic family? Is there any more sacred space, place than a Catholic Church where in the Sanctuary the Tabernacle with the ever-abiding presence of Jesus Christ is?
And ask anyone what the most important room in the home is…it would have to be the dining area where family members gather to not only enjoy a satisfying and re-energizing meal but enjoy the kind of fellowship that further strengthens their resolve to love one another and the neighbors they will happen to see in their travels once leaving that home back into the world.
And so we arrive at tonight to celebrate the institution of the ultimate meal in the ultimate home…the Holy Eucharist…the Bread of Life, the Lamb of God…the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ…so that in participating in this meal…consuming His Body, drinking deeply the draught of His blood are we not so marked as those door-posts and lintels of long ago?
Are not our bodies referred to as Temples or homes of the Holy Spirit and God by Saint Paul? How literally true is that when partaking of the Holy Eucharist…eating God as it were so that the Word Made Flesh dwells not only among us but within us…and is not a home a dwelling place…the absolute best kind and so are we for Christ.
So that when God the Father looks down from Heaven upon Fairfield as He once did upon Egypt that first Passover…Will He not see the Lamb of God’s Blood…His own Eternal Son’s blood circulating and pumping through every vein and artery in our body and over-flowing copiously into our hearts, minds, souls and from them into our very households?
And seeing us thus marked and wonderfully smeared, seeing His Son, seeing you His sons, His daughters not the more protect you and save you for all that is evil…especially Satan’s most effective weapon…death…and not just you but your entire household?
And thus when you cross over the threshold of this Church back into the world…He will still see you…marked with that sacred and wonderfully bloody smear, so that wherever your feet happen to fall in this unsafe, unkind and faith challenged world, it will be hallowed ground
and each person you encounter, even if only by a look, especially those in most need of God’s mercy will be blessed by the presence of Jesus Christ in you…as once Mary was the Christ-bearer in her womb so that encountering her cousin, Elizabeth’s soul erupted in praise…who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me…for the instant that your greeting reached my ears the infant in my womb leapt for joy...
There is then no greater experience to indulge in and frequently than receiving the Holy Eucharist…the world is desperate that you do and for those within your family, your friends who for whatever reason have become run-aways from the Church or have placed self imposed orphan status upon themselves renouncing all faith…
receive receive for if home is where the heart truly is…then in remaining there, they remain always with you and because of you and your Eucharistic life and devotion will remain always with Christ…For as Saint John reminds us in his Gospel:
God so loved the world, loves each of them, you and your entire households that He sent His only Son not to condemn the world but save it…and He sent you His Son in Human Form, in Risen Form in Eucharistic Form to help Him save it and others.sHis Hoid