A ‘Super’ reflection: Make all who come to Mass feel welcome

January 24, 2017

On Feb. 4, all eyes will be on Houston as the 51st installment of the Super Bowl will take place in our great city! In most years, it is the most watched television program and people who don’t pay attention to football all year long will be watching this game. 

I can’t help but think of the comparison of the Super Bowl to the ‘Super Bowls’ of our faith. People who don’t come to Church most of the time care about God for two days out of the year. And I think we as a Church could do a much better job of welcoming our brothers and sisters on Christmas and Easter.

Since we just celebrated Christmas last month, the experience is fresh on our minds. Many of our brothers and sisters come to Mass because they know in the midst of the commercialism of Christmas, Christ is in there somewhere. Many come to Mass because they feel like it is the least they could do in appreciation to the God who loves them unconditionally. And sometimes it is a tragedy that they aren’t treated better by those of us who come to Mass every week. I often think that many of our brothers and sisters come to Mass just twice a year because they can’t handle being treated this badly the rest of the year. I have seen and heard what some people say and do to our returning brothers and sisters, and it saddens me greatly.

If we have been to a Super Bowl party and we have witnessed someone being made fun of (or been that person ourselves) for not knowing a whole lot about football, then it shouldn’t surprise us that some people might not take an interest learning more about a game that will just lead to ridicule. 

It is similar in our experience of the Sacred Mysteries. People who come to Mass infrequently should never be made fun of or not feel welcomed in God’s house. I know that it might be an inconvenience for many who have habits of worshipping God, but I think we can all be a little more “super” in our hospitality for our brothers and sisters. 

I would invite you to think about what you can do to show those around you more hospitality on the most important days of our worship in the liturgical year. God is ecstatic that all His sons and daughters come back to visit him on the most important moments of salvation. He wants us to make sure that we welcome our brothers and sisters and help them want to come back and pray more often. 

We can do a lot better to help them want to join us every week. I would ask you that as you think about the next great feasts of our Church in Lent and Easter, please consider how you can play a role in welcoming our brothers and sisters to the house of the Lord. They come because they know love is there. Let us be love for them so they’ll want to join us more often.

Father T.J. Dolce is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Vocations.