The readings today speak of welcoming those outside the Jewish faith. Isaiah speaks of foreigners being able to offer sacrifice and being welcome in God’s house of prayer. Saint Paul speaks of his ministry to the Gentiles, or non-Jews. And Jesus entered into what was considered pagan territory, an area Jews avoided. God wants everyone to be in a relationship with Him! That is a comforting thought, yet we often are not as welcoming as we should be. We don’t always embrace the idea that God loves everyone, even those we believe are our enemies.

Our society seems to be pushing an agenda of inclusivity, but this idea is certainly different from what God and His Church envision. We are bombarded with the message that everyone has a right to live whatever lifestyle they prefer, and there should be no other view that tries to correct unhealthy, sinful living. If someone offers an opinion that is morally opposed to some of these ways of living they are called names such as bigot, a hater, or worse. It seems the norm we have grown up with is now considered wrong. And if you voice your opinion you get beat down by angry voices who seem to believe anything goes, there is no sin or wrong behavior anymore. The Catholic viewpoint is often ridiculed when it comes to morality. Nobody wants to be attacked for voicing their opinion, even if it is based on the Ten Commandments and the teachings of the Church, so all too often we fail to make our opinion known. We are afraid of the kickback so we remain silent. It certainly does take courage to stand up for what is morally right in today’s world!

Everyone is welcome here, regardless of the lifestyle they live. Everyone is included in God’s love and welcome to worship Him here. However, there are rules, laws that we are called to abide by. Each of us is a sinner, we fail to abide by these God given laws. So when we seriously offend God with mortal sin we should continue to worship Him, but we should not partake of the Holy Eucharist until we have been cleansed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Let’s remember that God wants everyone to be in a relationship with Him, and then let’s pray for everyone who has felt unworthy to come to worship Him or has somehow gotten the idea that they are not welcome here in the Catholic Church. Let’s repent of our sins and ask God to forgive all of us and make us worthy to receive Him, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Let us pray that we are all worthy of eternal life when it is our time to be judged by Him. And may God bless you!