Opening doors and the poor

In his commentary on today’s readings, Gustavo Gutiérrez wrote, “Jesus opens the doors which fear had closed.”

In most of the resurrection stories from the Gospels, fear seems to be ever-present. And so Jesus tells the apostles gathered behind closed doors, “Peace.”

It takes a lot to go beyond fear. The disciples of Jesus seem only have been able to put aside fear with the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost.

What happens then? With hearts and doors open, they soon become a community with “one heart and one soul” (Acts 4:32) and there is “no one poor among them” (Acts 4:34).

Perhaps the account is a little utopian, but it reflects the call of God in Deuteronomy 15: 4: “Let there be no poor among you.”

But it’s so easy to close our doors – and the doors of our hearts – to the poor, especially when we do not see them and when their presence provokes fear.

How then will we live as disciples? with hearts, houses, and churches open to the poor, sharing with them so that there is no poor among us?


It’s a challenge but it’s what God calls us too. As St. Alcuin of York reminds us:

Whatever we have comes from you…. Let us give with equally generous hands to those who are poor, breaking bread and sharing our bread with them. For you have told us that whatever we give to the poor we give to you.”

The quote from Alcuin of York is taken from  Megan McKenna’s  Breaking the Word.

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