I love this passage from the Book of Revelation: “Here I stand, knocking at the door. If anyone hears me calling and opens the door, I will enter his house and have supper with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20).
It puts me in mind of my days as a parish priest. When I visited homes, I would normally do so in one of two ways: either I would call ahead and make an appointment, or I would just show up.
You can probably imagine the difference in reception I received when I knocked on the door:
In the first case, the door opens wide and I am ushered in to a spotless home, the tea is on, food at the ready.
In the second, panic! The curtain is drawn back slightly before the door is eventually opened, and I am ushered in with the words, “Don’t look at the mess!”
When Jesus Christ knocks on the door of our hearts, he does so on his own timing, not ours. What reception do we give him?
The Solemnity of Christ the King, celebrated on Sunday, helps us to ponder this.
We honour Jesus Christ as King, the Lord who reigns over our lives. The place he wishes to establish his kingdom is in our hearts, to which he comes not by means of terrifying might but via a gentle knock on the door.
When the doors of our hearts are opened, what will Christ find as we usher him in?
I expect it is fair and accurate to say that the “mess” that we would rather he not see is a battlefield full of competing powers vying to be “king”, striving to exercise rule over our minds and hearts.
In all likelihood, our Lord’s gaze will encompass the prince named Pride, the sovereign called Falsehood, and the ruler otherwise known as Fear.
Within the human heart a daily battle is waged among these competitors for the governance of our thoughts, the formation of our mindset and the shaping of our behaviour. It is a war that leaves us weakened with exhaustion, broken by betrayal and riddled with anxiety.
Such a state is not the will of God for us, his beloved children.
He knows that the warring factions need to be vanquished and chased from our hearts. This is the gift he brings when we open the door to Jesus Christ and deliberately choose to accept him as our King.
His truth lays low our pride; his light exposes and dispels the lie; his mercy wins out over fear as thus he establishes within us his kingdom of justice, love and peace.
Listen attentively for the knock at the door, readily welcome Christ into the heart, and with trust allow him to clear away any “mess” that presumes to compete with him for sovereignty.
This is how we honour Christ as our King; this is how we know true peace.