We live in an age of keys and locks. Do you carry around keys in your pocket, purse or wallet? What do the keys operate? I carry keys for my car, the churches, Tuff shed, closets and padlocks, all necessary keys to open and close the church, the shed and places in the little church. We use locks to secure facilities and things, secure controls and access. Once upon a time, people could leave their homes unlocked going out for hours at a time, running errands, trusting that others would respect their property when people knew each other. Now we invest in alarm systems, car alarms and other devices to discourage the would- be thief looking for an easy item to pawn or sell or cause untold mischief or damage. These keys are only about things.
On the other hand keys open front doors to let us in, going into a place that we call home or our business where we can welcome family members, friends, even strangers, offering them hospitality. There are other kinds of keys, like the key of David, or the keys entrusted to the apostle Peter as Jesus told Peter, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Peter and his successors act with authority; what he declares on earth will be affirmed in heaven.
What key(s) gives us access to heaven? It is the key of mercy, showing mercy to the other, forgiving our brother or sister, forgiving ourselves, acting with kindness to those who are wounded and hurt, and opening the door to others. Sometimes the key is asking for forgiveness from those we have hurt, judged or harmed by our words or actions. There are so many people who feel afraid, feel they don’t belong, aren’t wanted, or feel misunderstood. We have the key to make a difference when we listen to one another, listen to the stranger and participate in our faith by giving and receiving the divine gift: forgiveness. Lord strengthen us with your grace so that we can be your disciples and employ the key of mercy, mercy that opens and unlocks hearts.
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel