Thursday, August 8, 2013
All are welcome...really? yes
There is a song we sing frequently at mass titled " all are welcome". It is a nice way to begin the mass. If I were to do a survey of people in surrounding towns I might find that a majority disagree with me. "I am not welcome" they would say and stamp their feet. Doesn't the church teach ...this, this, and this..."Yes, I would respond." The church asks you to be a "practicing" Catholic. For the record we are all "practicing" Catholics until the day we die...including the Pope. " All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" St Paul said to the Romans.That every human being is a sinner and is welcome to the table of God's grace. There is no super-category of beings who can look down on us. Christ came for everyone. Whoa! Stop there Fr Nagle what about gays, what about divorced and re- married Catholics. What about the unbaptized. Yes. All are welcome. Regarding gays a lot of misinformation has been promoted. The church recognizes the Dignity of every human being. There is a very active group called Courage which offers group support, counselling and spiritual direction to those who may be carrying the cross of same sex attraction. I have met the founder, Fr John Harvey, OSFS, a very holy man who has since gone to the Lord. Divorced and remarried are also welcome. If an annulment is necessary they can still participate in the mass, receive a priestly blessing and a spiritual communion-which, Catholic tradition tea ches us is just as efficacious as reception of Holy Communion. One very important point I wish to make and I wish the song said..."All are welcome...to repent." Some people love their sin more than they love God. It was true of the Israelites who fashioned a calf of molten gold. The same is true of us today.Lest anyone say " this does not apply to me"....I share with you Gal 5:16:"But I say walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the works of the flesh.For the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, so that you do not do what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the works of flesh are manifest, which are immorality, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft, enmities, contentions,jealousies, anger, quarrels, factions parties, envies, murders, drunkenness, carousing and such like. And concerning these I warn you, that they who do such things will inherit the kingdom of God." Ouch...the very people who feel they are rightous are not pleasing in God's eyes. This is not to put anyone under condemnation, but make us all realize we have a way to go before we can sing " All are welcome, all are welcome in this place (The Catholic church). You are welcome....we are a house of sinners and we welcome many more to the healing love of Jesus.