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Opening Life

Opening Life's Closed Doors - Family Reflection Video

Healing the family  |  Return to the Church

You walk to your favorite restaurant, but as you approach the door, you see a sign hanging, Closed. Or you walk into an office and see the same sign, Closed, on their counter. These are very ordinary, day-to-day situations in life. But consider these ...

Your age is eleven. Summer is here, and the little league baseball teams are practicing and your son asks, "Daddy, can I play baseball this year?" You get a new glove, Dad pitches with you in the backyard. Two weeks are spent practicing with the team. There are too many players, and some must be cut. The coach reads the roster one afternoon, and you're not on it. The coach says they plan to have two teams next year. And you cry all the way home. That door is closed.

From the time you were 15, you might have dreamt of the one you'd marry, of the thrill of falling in love, of the beauty of your wedding day, and the peace of being held by someone who loves you more than anyone else, but then he/she leaves you for someone else. That door closed again.

Or your dad, or mom, son or daughter, brother or sister, walked out of your life forever over a quarrel, that door seems closed too.

Take a step back in time to your mid-forties and reflect on what you hoped to accomplish at that time. Your decision is to stay with the company and give your best shot at it. Five years later, after hundreds of late nights at the office, long weekends, and working vacations, you're all set for the promotion, but you are laid off. The door closed again.

Or, career doors and relationships are open, and you have made every team you have tried out for; however, now your doctor tells you that you have an incurable disease. The door closes again.

"Closed" is a heartbreaking, disappointing word. This means we have been locked out, excluded, unwelcomed, our dreams crushed, and our opportunities denied. The feeling of a closed door sometimes can be so permanent, so conclusive, so final.

Joseph had done the right things. He had obeyed God and his father, but it cost him his home and inheritance. He seemed to have all the doors to his dreams open to him until, one day, his brothers sold him for a slave.

Our readings today are filled with stories of rejection. Joseph, especially loved by his father, was the subject of envy and scorn by his own brothers, who sold him into slavery. Jesus, the beloved Son of the Father, was the subject of scorn and envy by the Pharisees and other Jewish religious figures who despised him and even sought to have him killed and crucified. Both of them were despised and rejected by the people they loved most.

The story of Joseph has, in some way, become a parallel between the life and death of Jesus. The complete victory and fruition happened after the worst suffering and humiliation; the evils heaped upon them mysteriously brought deliverance and blessings for others, even to those behind those evil acts. In the words of Joseph, "Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve His present end, the survival of many people" (Gen. 50:20). In the words of Jesus, "the stone rejected by the builders, has become the cornerstone."

As we reflect on the story of Joseph and Jesus, let us learn a suitable lesson from their lives. God can bring success out of failure, triumph out of defeat, and acceptance where there is rejection, disbelief, or even hate. The Lord was with Joseph and blessed everything he oversaw, and he was promoted to the highest position in his household.

If you faithfully serve the Lord, He will bless you, shield you, and open closed doors for you.

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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.

Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.