Knocking on Locked Doors

February 25, 2021   Thursday of the First Week of Lent (Lectionary: 227)

Reading I   Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids,
from morning until evening, and said:
“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.

“And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”

Responsorial Psalm   138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 7c-8
R. (3a) Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Verse before the Gospel   Ps 51:12a, 14a
A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.

Gospel   Mt 7:7-12
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets.”

By Tom Kerrigan 

I am a huge sports movie junkie. One of my favorite sports flicks of all time is the 1993 motion picture Rudy. For those of you who have never seen the film, it is a story of a persistent, yet undersized man whose dream is to attend the University of Notre Dame and run proudly onto the field as a member of the Irish football team. Unfortunately, in his valiant attempts to earn admission into Notre Dame and make the varsity squad, Rudy encounters many locked doors and naysayers. 

There is a particular scene, which comes at a breaking point for Rudy, after receiving his latest rejection letter and losing just about all hope. He reveals to one of his spiritual mentors, Fr. Cavanaugh, that he has one last chance--as a rising senior--to be accepted into his dream school. He asks Fr. Cavanaugh, “Maybe I haven’t prayed enough!” to which Fr. Cavanaugh wisely remarks that “I am sure that is not the problem."

"Praying is something we do in our time. The answers come in God’s time.” 

I will not spoil the ending, but I do think it is important to share that Rudy eventually realizes that as one door closes on his aspirations, another one unexpectedly opens. The beautiful irony is that these doors often lead Rudy to a more fitting reality than what he could ever have imagined or planned himself. 

There is a particular image that comes to my mind when I think about Rudy’s life journey.  It helps me further appreciate Jesus’ invitation in this passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew. It is an image of Christ standing and waiting on the footsteps of a wooden door while extending his hand in a knocking gesture. What I find most intriguing about this image is that

Jesus is the one who is doing the knocking and there is no doorknob on the outside of this particular entrance. 

My interpretation, which may or may not be that of the painter, is that it is up to us, as Jesus’ disciples, to open the door and invite Jesus into our homes and hearts, as Jesus anxiously awaits our response to his daily invitation.

It often seems that Rudy is the exemplar for responding with zeal to the next opportunity or step towards reaching his goal; however, it is clear to me that it is Rudy’s lack of patient trust in God’s Providence that exacerbates his personal and spiritual crisis.

If only he could recognize that God was present in the hills and valleys of his life, then he could rest assured that all shall be well.

In this way, so much of Rudy’s story is my story.  My life’s journey has also had its share of ebbs and flows, and this past year has been no exception. Welcoming our son, Lucan, into our family has brought all of us abundant joy and unexpected solace amidst this pandemic.

Each day certainly presents its own challenges and some trials are unavoidable; however, it is the daily mantra “we are disciples with hope to bring” that I believe allows myself--as well as characters, like Rudy--to be able to swing open wide doors so that the love and mercy of God may enter and transform our lives for the better.  


Tom Kerrigan (JVC Cleveland 2007, JCU 2011) is a new father and committed husband who is grateful to be able to share a brief chapter of his faith journey with you. Tom recently became the Assistant Principal of Academics at Lowell Catholic in Lowell, MA. Tom and his wife, Gisella, welcomed their son, Lucan Ignacio, into this complex, yet beautiful world in April 2020. Tom enjoys sampling new culinary dishes (attn: Peruvian cuisine), playing frisbee golf as well as supporting his New England sports teams. Feel free to email Tom at

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