Recently I had just finished celebrating a Sunday Mass.
I stood at the back of the Church to chat with people. A number of people were waiting to speak.
I noticed a youngish adult obviously waiting to see me.
He told me that that day was the first day that he had come back to Mass after many years.
I placed my right hand on his shoulder and said ‘welcome home’.
I think that I said it three times.
I could see the deep emotion on his face.
I invited him to come and chat if he so wished.
It was a powerful moment for both of us.
I was reminded how important it is for us to be welcoming to all in our gatherings.
Coming to Mass is not just a privet devotion. It is very much a prayer of the church family.
Of course, the Mass is our most sacred gathering. It is important to ensure that we show great respect to the dignity of the Church environment.
However, as Saint Paul says, “All we do is useless if we do not do it with love”.
Hospitality and welcome are both deeply ingrained in both the Old Testament and the New.
Talking to our close friends after or before Mass is a very good thing.
However, as Jesus said, the pagans do as much. For us Christians we need to reach out and welcome all.
A ‘good day’ etc. can be much appreciated!
It would indeed be very sad if someone who came to Mass for the first time, or after a long time, is not greeted, welcomed or spoken to!!
It is good to remember that Jesus gave us the Eucharist during a meal. The first Masses in the early Church were during a meal.