The painting ‘The Light of the World’ by William Holman Hunt hangs in St Paul’s Cathedral London. It depicts the figure of Jesus preparing to knock on an overgrown and long unopened door.
The painting illustrates Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any person hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with them.”
The message is clear, it is up to the person on the other side to open the door and let Jesus in.
Apart from this being one of my favourite paintings, I think it contains a beautiful message for the start of a new year. The invitation is always there for us to enter into a new relationship with Christ, with our family, friends, with our world and creation.
In Laudato Si, Pope Francis is calling on us to re-examine our relationship with the natural world. In the Synodal Pathway he is also calling us to examine our understanding of what it means to be Church. Both Laudato Si and the Synodal Pathway are signs of hope but they also challenge us to open our hearts to a new vision for our world and our Church.
Just as Christ knocks at the door of our hearts inviting us to enter into a relationship with Him, so too do the cries of the poor and our world invite us to open our hearts and eyes to the reality of suffering.
Faced with major issues such as migration, war, homelessness, loss of biodiversity and climate change, missionaries are called to stand with the poor, to work for the alleviation of poverty, to create a more just society where the rights of all are respected, to care for our earth and to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We can only do this through partnership and the support of you, our readers. I thank you for the many times you have opened your hearts in support of our mission.
When we open the door of our hearts to the gentle knock of Christ, to the cry of the poor and the earth we can together make a difference.
On behalf of all Columban Missionaries I thank you, our readers, for your continued support of the Far East magazine and for our missionary endeavours. May 2023 bring you and your family peace and blessings. Happy New Year!
Fr Raymond Husband is Regional Director of the Columbans in Ireland.
‘The Light of the World’ by William Holman Hunt in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. See here: www.stpauls.co.uk/light-of-world-by-william-holman-hunt
This article was first published in the January/February 2023 issue of the Far East magazine. Please subscribe here and support Columban missionaries: https://columbans.ie/product/far-east-magazine-yearly-subscription/?swcfpc=1