Welcome, One and All!
I spent almost 20 years working for a global company. We had offices and factories around the world because that’s where our customers were. And even though English was the de facto language of international business, our company strove to be sensitive to the people and cultures we interacted with. It was a sign of respect and it was generally appreciated.
Years ago, Latin was the language of the Catholic Mass. It was believed that using this common language would bring people together, but what we found was that very few people (priests included) actually understood what was being read. Our first reading today points to the solution, for when the apostles went out to preach the Gospel message every person heard it in his or her own tongue. Doesn’t it make sense that we at least try to do the same? Isn’t hearing something in your own language more inviting?
”Catholic” Implies Diversity
If we are truly the universal church, doesn’t that mean we should welcome diversity? Including all the diverse languages of the cultures we’ve welcomed into the fold? But diversity is not just an issue of race and language; it is also an issue of differing backgrounds, skills and talents. In our second reading, we see that we are each a part of the Body of Christ – and we all have unique gifts and a unique place within the Body.
The Church is called to be Christ in the world and the only way we can do that is with the help of all parts of the Body – all the members of the Church – working towards the goal. Some people, for a variety of reasons, feel that they “don’t get anything out of Mass,” so they aren’t involved in the Church community at all. What’s ironic is that if they would use their gifts and talents to get involved and help the Church serve the community, then they would feel much more “at home” when they go to Mass – and chances are good that they would start to “get something out of Mass!”
Called, One and All!
We are all called to serve God and evangelize – to spread the Good News – just as the apostles were told, “as the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Everything we have – every gift, talent and blessing – has been given to us by God. And if we work together as a community, it won’t matter if I can’t do everything well, because someone else will be up to the task. By combining our unique gifts, talents, languages, cultures and ideas, we will be better able to welcome even more diverse people into the church. For at the very least, we will exemplify what it means to be a truly universal church.
What comes to mind when you think of the word “diversity”?
What unique gifts or talents could you use to help spread the Good News?
How does your parish exhibit the universal nature of the Catholic Church?
Original article by Brandon Jubar, 2005 – 2020.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.