Open Your Doors and Open Your Hearts

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2016

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I remember driving to work and hearing on the radio about some plane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. I assumed at the time it was some daredevil stunt that had gone wrong. Upon my arrival, I went into the parish center and turned on the television. As I was watching live coverage, I saw a second plane hit the second tower. As the events unfolded, a crowd gathered around the screen. I ran to open the church and light candles in anticipation of people who would be arriving to pray. We did not know what was really happening, but we knew it was horrible and we knew that people would be drawn to the parish to pray, unsure of what else to do.

There was a wide range of people who came by that day. Some we knew only from Sunday masses; others were heavily involved in various ministries. A few were Catholics from another parish, while some were not Catholic at all. On that day, it did not matter where you were from or if you had ever graced the front door of our church. We knew who you were. You were family.

Tragedy and misfortune bring people together who, on a good day, fail to see that they have anything in common. What they have failed to realize previously is that they have the most important thing in common: they have one Creator and they are created in His image. Even though I pray that another day like that first 9/11 never befalls our country again, the sense of welcoming and family on that day and the days that followed is one I often recall.

Regardless of the reason why someone shows up at our church door, we need to be ready to welcome him or her with open arms. Hospitality can lead to many wonderful things, for both the faithful and the prodigal among us.

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