The “Un-pearl-y” Gates?

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 14, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings offer another taste of “pre-Advent agita”. You know what I mean. Those metaphoric gates described in our readings don’t seem all the “pearly” to me! In fact, the image that comes to mind is the massive wrought iron gates of Moffat Public School when I stood before them on my first day going to kindergarten!

Well, get ready for it! In the next few weeks of readings:

  • the sun will be darkened,
  • and the moon will not give its light,
  • and the stars will be falling from the sky,
  • and the powers in the heavens will be shaken

The phrase, “In those days” becomes prelude to some scary stuff! What’s going on here?


Well, the Church Year – symbolic of the total Christian life – is coming to an end. With its closing, we are constantly reminded that this might be our last chance to get our act together before we are judged.

I always disliked these apocalyptic readings. As a child, I was frightened by them. As an adult, they don’t easily convey the kind of God Who has loved me into my maturity. But they do reveal the God of fidelity who stays with us through it all to the end.

One line from today’s reading that captures the heart? 

When you see these things happening,
know that He is near, at the gates.

There are still a lot of closed gates in my heart – places I have not yet given over fully to God. You? Same?

This reading challenges us to go to the gate, unlock it, and let our whole heart meet God who is waiting there for us, despite any fears we may harbor – even of the end-time.


Poetry: from Paradiso – Dante Allegheri

“O grace abounding and allowing me to dare
to fix my gaze on the Eternal Light,
so deep my vision was consumed in it!
I saw how it contains within its depths
all things bound in a single book by love
of which creation is the scattered leaves:
how substance, accident, and their relation
were fused in such a way that what I now
describe is but a glimmer of that Light.”


Music: Heaven’s Gate – instrumental music to pray with as we unlock our gates. 🙂

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