So here I am spending Christmas with my family, and like many other Catholic families, we went to Christmas Mass yesterday.
Year after year, I hear talk about the CEO’s (the Christmas and Easter Only Mass attendees) and the grumbling that comes with the “inconvenience” of having to make space for them in the crowded pews. However, I was talking to a friend about how a parish she visited was calling on its parishioners to “roll out the red carpet” for visiting or returning Catholics by making close pareking spots available, moving in to the center of the pews and introducing ourselves to unfamiliar faces. I was happy to hear that my home parish would be giving out copies of Rome Sweet Home by Scottand Kimberly to our brothers and sisters who would be coming to celebrate the birth of our Lord. I was even happier to see that the parish my family attends was giving out copies of Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. I was so excited to see Catholics reaching out to others!
On the way home from Mass, I found myself reflecting on the first Christmas when God entered the world in the human form of Jesus. I thought about the trip that Mary and Joseph made, and and how they weren’t welcomed into the inns. I thougt about how they had to humble themselves to the point of starting their family in a stable. Yet they were still able to receive the Word Made Flesh.
It really isn’t so different today. We just need to ask ourselves: Are we going to receive Christ into our hearts by welcoming those who choose to seek Him? Do we see Christ in them? Or will we be like those innkeepers and claim that there is no room?
I think it’s a good question not just for Christmas but for every day.