Regarding Locked Doors
Blessed Sandra Sabattini (1961-1984)

Regarding Locked Doors

For more than 30 years, I’ve served as a an adjunct lecturer in economics at a local university. During Covid, I remember the department chair asking if anyone would be willing to teach in person, to which I gladly replied— “YES.”

Now if you remember, during the midst of the pandemic, few cars were on the road. At the university, the same was true when my students and I seemed to be the only cars in the parking lot. Each week, upon our arrival, with masks on, we’d walk to the academic building that was always locked. At which point, I would call Public Safety and an officer would soon arrive with a ring filled with keys; one would open the building and another our classroom. And each week, I’d thank him, smile, and offer my usual comment that was a play on the roach motel commercial: “Without you, we can’t check in; but, with you, we can both check in and check out.”

Throughout the years, locksmiths have always intrigued me because they can get into places or things (e.g., buildings, houses, and cars) with ease; and sometimes, we even call them to open other items (e.g., safes) that haven’t been opened for many, many years.

In a similar way, the saints do the same. Over thousands of years, they’ve shown us, through the witness of their own personal challenges, ways that we might unlock our relationship with Jesus. Some of my favorite saints include St. Joseph, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Teresa of Calcutta. But there are thousands more, each whom we may call upon to pray and intercede for us—and others.

With the saints, there is one key quality that comes to mind: Trust! To put it simply, in their prayer lives, each never stopped asking God that fundamental question: “For what purpose have you created me?” And then they listened for His voice and acted and trusted that the road that God had set them down was the one that would bear great fruit.

Which brings me to a soon-to-be saint: 22-year-old Blessed Sandra Sabattini (from Italy). For those unfamiliar with her, she was born in 1961 and has been described as both generous and faith filled. At 13, she went on a one-week trip to serve disabled children and was forever changed. And from that moment onward, she knew that her mission in life was to help relieve those suffering from poverty and addictions of any kind.

One author has noted that her young life was characterized by a life of radical mercy and deep meaning because she never distinguished between the “deserving” and “undeserving.” Quite simply, she poured out Jesus’ mercy on anyone she could find.

Her trust in God eventually led her to enter medical school where she also fell in love and was engaged to be married. But sadly, in 1984, at the age of 22, she was struck by a passing car and died. In March 2018, she was declared venerable by Pope Francis and a miracle received through her intercession was confirmed in October 2019 that paved the way for her beatification two years later, in October 2021.

So, on this 2nd Sunday of Easter, we have before us keys and trust, both which bring us to this scene (20:19-31) from the Gospel of John.

There, the disciples are gathered once more—in fear. The doors are locked. And we are told that Thomas’ unbelief continues to persist, for he has yet to see the Resurrected Christ.

But then, Jesus appears—through a locked door. Jesus doesn’t need a key, for He is the key. (Mt 16:19) And the door? Well, Jesus is also the door! (John 10:7) Yes, Jesus Christ, the second person of the Most Holy Trinity, is the key that opens the door to our hearts.

Which is exactly what He did with Thomas. Having invited Thomas to place his fingers (and unbelief) in the sacred wounds He received at Calvary, Thomas blurts out what may be the greatest faith statement in sacred scripture: “My Lord and My God.”

And Jesus responds: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Today, we should ask, what about us? What about you and me? Where is Jesus in our lives, for He is the one who holds the keys to unlock the doors of our hearts? 

And my response is: Jesus is right here! In December 1963, the fathers of the Second Vatican Council published the document Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) that reminds us that “Jesus Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations.”

He is present in His wordsince it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church.

He is present when the Church prays and sings.

He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass.

But here is the key. After listening to His Word, praying, singing, and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist (His true body, blood, soul, and divinity), what has changed for us? How are we different?

Do we allow Him entry into the doors of our hearts? Do we become like Blessed Sandra Sabattini and the other saints seeking to pour Jesus’ mercy out upon others?

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Written by
Deacon Kurt Godfryd