A reflection for Advent: All are welcome
This Advent, reflect on what it means to be a member of this catholic (small c) church.
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“Many will come from east and west, and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11)
What a way to begin Advent: announcing the truth that Jesus has come for all people. James Joyce famously described the church as “Here Comes Everybody.” And yet recent events have brought to light divisions within our country, our church, our families, and across the world. Words like “nationalism” and “tribalism” are being bandied about.
Perhaps this Advent we can reflect on what each of us is called to as a member of this catholic (small c) church. Am I a Catholic who longs to be more catholic? When I sing, “All Are Welcome!” do I mean it?
When Jesus was born, the first to come and worship him were non-Jewish magi and shepherds, who were considered lower-class nobodies. And in today’s gospel reading a centurion—an enemy solider of the occupying army—comes to Jesus on behalf of his paralyzed servant and is praised for his faith. Now that’s catholic!
Written by Claretian Father John Molyneux, the editor-in-chief of U.S. Catholic.
1. Is the church welcome to all? What can you, personally, do to make it more inclusive?
2. How can you start to bridge some of the divides in our families and parishes today? (Bonus: Take the time to have a conversation with someone you know believes differently than you. Try to focus on what you have in common—your love for each other and your shared faith—rather than what drives you apart.)