Mt 18:14 “So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little one should be lost.“
Gone are the days when we as Catholics can just sit on our butts and wait for people to come to us.
Gone are the days when we can assume people will stay in the church and be at mass every weekend.
But what is NOT GONE, is the value of our faith. We truly have something wonderful given to us by God, and we truly MUST share it.
I think we have to call out to them.
We have to to GO to them.
I think that one of the great tools we have to GO to those who feel lost is social media. Even Pope Benedict XVI will start to tweet.
See, I believe those who are lost search on the internet for anything that will help them, or think that will help them. Wouldn’t be awesome if they found some message of hope, of clarity, of light out there??!!!
If you are reading this, then you are using such tools on the internet, and if you happen to NOT be a part of my parish, then encourage your own priest or the pastoral team of the parish to use such tools.
THEN there are the old fashioned ways to search out the lost. Literally go to those we know of and LISTEN to them. Everyone can do this. Spend time and hear their story. Why do they feel lost? What do they hope for? What can I/We do to help? This is such a powerful tool.
BE HOSPITABLE! In a couple of weeks it will be Christmas and the churches will be filled with the once or twice a year Catholics. DO NOT gripe about the lack of parking, seating et al. WELCOME these brothers and sisters. MAKE them feel at home, because, well, they ARE at home.
REPEAT this each Sunday too. NOTHING can replace that warm welcome people can encounter, that human to human contact. This is not simply the responsibility of the pastor, or even the Ushers…but every Catholic.
To be hospitable and to welcome those who were lost, or are still kind of lost is the rejoicing that Jesus talks about in this passage.
I know being welcomed into a parish many many years ago helped me immensely! Some of those who welcomed me are still in my life even to this day, some 20 years past.
Go to the lost sheep, in Reno, in Fernley, Carson City and beyond.