August 22, 2020
I FOUND YOUR KEYS
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
By Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
A few months after my mother died, I came upon a treasure box. It was actually her jewelry box. It was locked and I had no idea where I had placed the small key. My mother lived a rather simple life so I was intrigued as to what I might find. The box itself is a treasure to me. I can touch something my mother held and treasured. Interestingly enough, she held and treasured me. How quickly we can forget.
I was overjoyed when, a few months later, I found the key. It was taped to the underside of the jewelry box! Upon opening the box, music played. A metal of St. Christopher rested on top of her rosary and a simple but beautiful necklace she rarely wore but treasured. It was a gift from my father. I was flooded with memories, gratitude, and hope. It is amazing what you can open if you find the key.
At a crucial juncture in the Gospel of Matthew (16: 13-20), Jesus ponders who he is and what his life might mean. All of us can identify with Jesus. We are sometimes a mystery unto ourselves. We might not know who we are until we meet that special someone who unlocks the door to our heart. Jesus inquires of his disciples who they think he is. Peter speaks up declaring Jesus to be the Anointed One of God. Peter is probably surprised by his own answer. For the moment, both Peter and Jesus savor the moment as if two hearts were opened for the first time.
Jesus rejoices in Peter’s insight realizing the Father in Heaven has unlocked Peter’s heart and mind so he could speak boldly, freely, openly, and insightfully. Jesus gives Peter “the keys” to the Kingdom of God. This is a gift we have all received at some point in our lives.
We are called by our very humanity to hold others close to us even as we set them free to be themselves. We are, if you will, keys unlocking the doors of each other’s minds, hearts, and souls.
In our day and age, when the powerful and insensitive would build walls to exclude our neighbors, terrorize the children, and tear families apart, we need to find the keys of compassion, love, welcome, and understanding. We need to unlock the doors of our hearts so Jesus may truly rise in all our thoughts, words, and actions. We need to find the keys by which we see in other people our companions rather than our enemies. We need to unlock the door of fear and be ourselves so others may see in us the gift of God we are meant to be.
Not a day goes by when I don’t loose my keys. The keys to the house, the keys to the car, the keys to my office. May I never again loose the keys to my heart.
Jesus found Peter’s keys and gave them back to him. Frequently, I hear the Lord saying to me, “Hey Tom, are these your keys?” I found them on the ground of despair, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. May I realize the power of the keys are always with me. I can, and pray I will, unlock the love and compassion, the care and concern, the courage and fortitude stored in my heart.
Blessings to you Beloved Community for all the times you unlocked the doors, opened the hearts, and became the loving presence of the Anointed One in the harshness, anxiety, and perplexity of the World. Never lose those keys.