Sunday, October 27, 2013

Welcome Home

After being away for five weeks - walking the Camino Frances - in northern Spain - it felt good to be picked up at the airport by our nephew and welcomed home. Seeing his smiling face - as he hopped out of his car to help load our back packs into his car - giving first - my wife - a hug - then me - was a great feeling. The Camino experience in Spain was great - but after five weeks - we started missing family. While we were gone the family had held the annual family reunion and a family golf outing. Our nephew very quickly asked us if we knew he had won the golf outing this year - we had not heard - but were quick to congratulate him and ask details on his win and the event. Sitting in the car next to him - it really did feel great to be with family again - and even better when we walked into our house for the first time in thirty-five days. Sleeping in our own bed that night was a pleasure for both of us - great to be warmly welcomed and back home.

For a lot of various reason - there are many Catholics who no longer attend weekly services - electing to occupy themselves with other activities in place of church. Over the past few years there have been changes - in the way Holy Mass is celebrated - in staff changes - in family commitments - in parish activities. For those who have been away - then return - the church is similar but different. Perhaps new people are in charge - others may have retired and relocated - others gone on to new life in the hereafter. Returning to ones roots may be exciting and scary - all at the same time - yet - in a special way - comfortable. It may be compared to seeing a favorite relative and receiving a giant big bear hug - the greeting that says - welcome - great to see you - what have you been doing with yourself - tell me - I really care what is going on in your life. Those special hugs and greetings - the smiling faces - the honest heartfelt gestures - immediately let you know you are home - you are loved - you are welcome. If you have been away from your church - perhaps it is time to make a return visit - to see what is happening with the parish family - to see what is happening in the Mass - to see Jesus - who is waiting there - with arms outstretched - waiting to give you a big bear hug - to welcome you home.

Deacon Dale