Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

Why Lock the Door?

08-14-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I imagine that at night before going to sleep most people lock their doors, some might even put an alarm on, or live in a gated community. But what is the motivation for locking your doors at nighttime? Is it because you hate the people outside? No I doubt that is the rationale. Rather you lock your doors at night not because you hate the people outside but because you love the people inside.

Most of us don't worry too much that our neighbors will come over at 3am to borrow a screwdriver or return the lawnmower. In fact the few people walking around the neighborhood at night are either walking the dog, coming home from the late shift or stayed too long at the casino. But still now and then there might be a person lurking around with bad intentions. So you take a simple measure like locking the door because you love your family.

Daytime is a different story. When you are home you keep your door open since you can easily identify who wants to come into your house. Your neighbor might stop by to return something they borrowed, have a cup of coffee or share with you the crazy letter that the pastor of Mt. Carmel wrote this week. Then at some point in the day the Girl Scouts might knock selling cookies, the Mormons stop by to do their thing, a few kids raising money for new uniforms for their sports team might come by as well. In these cases you are welcoming and hospitable and you do what you can. Now if your neighbor starts coming by a little too often, like when you are in the shower, or eating dinner, or watching your favorite show or doing your taxes you might have to have a talk with him or her about boundaries for the sake of the friendship. It’s not that you are closing the door to him but reminding him of some basic rules of civility.

Then again you might be someone who refuses to lock his doors at night. Maybe it makes you feel antisocial. Most of the time there is no problem. In fact 364 days out of the year nothing goes wrong. Then on day 365 someone enters your house while you and your family are sleeping. Maybe they steal some of your things, or maybe it’s your wife’s or your children’s things they take. Maybe even worse, they assault you or your wife or your children. But still you don't want to be seen as anti-social, exclusive or intolerant so you continue to refuse to lock the doors at night and it happens again. At this point your wife, your children, the police, your insurance company might start questioning how much your really love the people inside your house. You might respond to that by saying that they are anti-social, xenophobic, intolerant bigots. Not only that but you are emphatic that locking the door at night is not a demonstration of love for those on the inside of your house but actually a demonstration of hatred for those outside you house.

By repeatedly putting your family at risk you are now cooperating with evil and failing in your duty to protect the ones you love and for whom you are responsible. It is true that we have a moral responsibility to assist strangers but we also have a moral responsibility to care for those we are immediately responsible for. The latter trumps the former. Still the two are not mutually exclusive. Just because you love the people inside and try to keep them safe does not mean that you are ignoring those on the outside who need your assistance. It’s just that there is a priority for your family.

That’s the way I think about Immigration, Refugee Resettlement and Border security. Whether it is your home or your country loving the people inside and taking measures to keep them secure does not mean that you hate the people outside.

Fr. John B.

PS. Our favorite parish son Fr. Scott Sperry, you may remember that while he was a seminarian he successfully battled leukemia. He has been in remission for 5 or 6 years and now the leukemia has returned. Presently he is undergoing treatment and battling it again. Keep him in your prayers and Masses. You can send cards and well wishes to Christ the King Parish: 1551 E. Dana Ave, Mesa 85204.