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Painting our way into the fold

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Sermon for the first Sunday after Christmas

Wile E. Coyote has decided that the best way to catch Roadrunner is to paint a door on the wall so that Roadrunner will think it’s real and crash into it. You know what happens. Roadrunner runs to the painted door, somehow opens it, runs through it and closes it again. Wile E. Coyote’s jaw drops to the floor. Of course, when he tries to do the same, he ends up on the floor watching little birds fly around the two-foot bump on his head.

The rule is clear: you cannot enter through a painted door. And yet people try.


Our Lord is quite clear. Those who enter the sheepfold by climbing over the wall are sheep-stealers. He is, as usual, referring to those Scribes and Pharisees who don’t really worship God but rather want people to follow them so that they can look important. We see this time and time again. There are so many awful cult-leaders who bask in the worship of their followers and will happily lead them off a cliff to satisfy their delusions. They bypass the door to steal souls from the Church.

Only the Lord Jesus is the door by which one can enter the sheepfold. But it seems there are those who, like Wile E. Coyote, can paint an image of Jesus on the wall of the sheepfold and enter in that way. These are no less sheep-stealers than those who climb over the wall.

This poses a bit of a problem for the sheep. If someone comes in through the door, they know that it really is someone they can trust. It’s not so easy to spot someone coming in through a fake door.

How do we tell a real door from a fake door?


The answer must lie in being sure that it’s the right Jesus. This is why we still say the Creeds. This is why we have the Holy Bible. This is why we celebrate the sacraments. All these strengthen our attachment to the real Jesus Christ. The Church has always had these from the beginning. Yes, the Creed weren’t written until five hundred years after Jesus’ birth, but their contents have always been believed by Catholics. The books of the Bible weren’t finalised until three hundred years after Christmas Day, but their contents have always been recognised as testimony about the Lord from when they were written only fifty years or so after His Resurrection. The sacraments were started by Jesus Himself. The Church has taught the real Jesus from Day One and it teaches the same Jesus now.



We have always seen those who like to re-interpret the testimony about Our Lord for their own ends or to fit their own philosophies. These are the ones who paint the fake Jesus on the wall of the sheepfold and enter in. Their Jesus is their own invention. It may almost be a photograph. But it isn’t real. Church Teaching about Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Mission, His Death and Resurrection does not change. It is the same teaching that we have always received. If there is any change in Christian Doctrine, then it is to satisfy the egos of those who think they know best based on worldly concerns.

 By their fruits shall ye know them because their fruit will divide the Church rather than unite it. It is the one whose actions cause schism who enter in by painted doors. But the Lord is very clear. There is one sheepfold and there will be many sheep from other places who will enter in. It will be the real Lord Jesus Christ Who unites His Church. We will be one when we follow only Him rather than those who paint their own doors.

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