I met with a family recently about Baptising a little baby girl.
I shared a meal with four generations of the family.
Great grandpa shared many stories about his life and his late wife’s story.
The grandparents shared some of their stories, including how they met.
Aunties and uncles, and mum and dad, contributed to the conversation.
We shared good food amidst an atmosphere of obvious family love and harmony.
Amidst all this, there was some sharing about some of the sadness that the family had experienced.
I could not help but reflect how blessed this little girl was in being born into such a family, who obviously loved her and will be there for her.
The Church family will welcome her into a much bigger family at her Baptism.
As a Church family we need to witness to this welcome by the way we welcome each other.
In the early days of the Church, a time of harsh and challenging living, people looked at the Christian community and said, “look how they love one another!” People were attracted to the community because of this. Here they were loved and accepted, rich and poor, slaves or free people, people of various ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Not all babies are born into such a big and extended family. Not all babies are deeply loved when they are born.
Of course, love does not depend on the size of the family!!
Many times, I have seen single mums who adored their babies, and not all of these mums were well supported by their families! I have admired these mums and their commitment to want the best for their child.
Regardless of each child’s background, they are all welcome into our family of the Church.
I have rejoiced so many times to see a young parent beaming when people complimented them on their beautiful son or daughter at Mass.
All need to feel welcome, in fact, not just in theory!