Sunday, December 25, 2011

always welcome .

Sitting in Christmas mass tonight amidst all of these people that don't normally go, the priest's homily struck a chord with me. His main message was that the thing Christmas was all about is not to be afraid. Of all the miraculous things that happened that night, angels and everyone else spread the word to not be afraid. Lots of people had to have lots of courage for all that happened. And yet, all we have to do is make the effort to go to church.

Father Tom reminded everyone in the congregation and of course myself that no matter what, we are always welcome in God's house. How often it is that we forget this, and feel that we will be condemned or judged for one thing or another. How often it is that we feel that we don't belong, or aren't welcome. I'll be honest, when all of the non-regulars show up at Christmas mass and other major religious holidays like Easter mass, it's unsettling. They clearly don't know what's going on, don't sing, can't follow along with prayers... it's a sad way to live. That's my opinion of course.

Then I heard those words: "always welcome." They are always welcome. They should be always welcome. I'm sure some people go just as a sort of obligation that they feel. Others I'm sure are forced. After communion during the time of prayer, after I had finished my little personal prayers, I decided to say an extra little something for these people -- the ones that we only see during the big deal holidays. I hope that maybe one day they'll find solace in the church; warmth and welcome and a sense of belonging. Of course with all of this comes happiness. It would be amazing to go to church every Sunday and have a full church with loud singing voices all the time. That's kind of what the church down in South Carolina that I go to is like. People are just enthusiastic and charismatic.

Perhaps, though, one day, they will change their minds. And if they do, I'm going to do my best to be there to welcome them to their new family.

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