The only people who complain about not feeling welcome are those who do not feel at home.
For either I am comfortably under the roof where I belong or I am tirelessly looking for a guest’s reception, one with the proper greetings, interactions and social graces appropriate to my public profile.
If I see my brother in the driveway and he refuses to acknowledge my presence, that is no indication of my right to be there or not be there; it is quite beside the issue, What is at issue, is that my brother is in a bad mood and it behooves me as someone who cares to find out why.
And if I see my sister in the doorway and she pretends that it is quite normal that we have all shown up at the same time; well I do not question our parents for calling us there but my sister’s forgetfulness at the purpose.
In similar ways, those who notice the rise and fall in Church attendance have mistakenly thought that the key to everything was how much my brother smiled at me from the driveway, or that my sister looked me in the eye at the door the the utmost respect. What few of them have realized however, is that this does a great job of encouraging guests but does very little for welcoming people home.
And if the Church is home for us, those who have been baptized into the Faith, then all I will expect upon my arrival is to see my people.
And you know, there is a profound difference between seeing your people and those merely occupying a space. Like the rest of humanity, we notice and we give different meaning to a house where we consistently encounter those who occupy our memory.
We call it home, where people can be themselves, broken or otherwise.
We call it home, where people can try their best, still fail, and find comfort nonetheless.
We call the Church home, even if my siblings are rude, abrasive or just ignorant to my woes, because that is where the family of Faith is.
In your parishes, rekindle the truth of God’s sacred house, your home, and you might just find that His children, (lost and broken though they may be), confidently and in spite of all ill manner, walk right in the front door.
Check out Patrick and his ministry – Evango – at https://evango.net/
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