What’s in a greeting?

One of the most frequent comments I hear from new members of the parish where I work is how truly welcome they feel. They appreciate the cards, calls and welcome messages from the staff, and enjoy the hospitality of welcome dinners.

Each time the assembly draws together for liturgy or another parish activity that sense of belonging is rekindled. We use our words, our smile, and our friendliness, but consider Jesus’ words: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” [MT 18:20].

Christians who live with an awareness of Jesus’ presence naturally become more open to God’s movement in their lives. And at this point, Christian hospitality takes on greater significance.

Might our extension of hospitality throughout our day, at home, at work, and in play emerge from the divine image that dwells in us and in which we were created? “It is so good to see you”  We know God works through us, so is it such a stretch to think that God also speaks through us? “I am so glad we are in this place together.” When we greet a stranger, we do so not knowing who they are, and yet by acknowledging them, we say “I am here.”

And in seeking the face of Christ in each other, the one who meets our eyes says “I know you.”

Have you ever considered the impact your greeting might have on another, or how their greeting might affect you? How do you welcome guests and newcomers to our faith community? Let’s explore this together, please share your impressions and suggestions.

Is this your Authentic Life?

The word authentic, when we are referring to, for example “Authentic Italian Cooking” means the food is made with the same ingredients and techniques found in the original, and if it’s truly authentic, it ought to taste just like Sunday dinner at Nonna’s.

To be authentic men and women we need to recall in whose likeness we were created [Genesis 1:27]. Obviously, likeness does not refer to physical characteristics, but rather points to our ability to know and love God and all that God created. Put another way, God’s initial gift of love was the act of creation, and God’s entrance into creation in the person of Jesus Christ defined the unbreakable relationship for which we, as part of creation, remain mutually responsible.

Our authenticity is reflected in our response to that responsibility. Are we authentic? Yes! Do we always live authentic lives? Not so much! Our culture makes claims that being authentic requires only that we remain true to ourselves. One popular website states “We only get one life, so why waste it not being the real you?” Er, well, it’s a little more complicated than that. True, we are individuals, but authenticity starts with remembering WHO we are and accepting that we fit in God’s plan. A user’s manual for understanding this plan exists in the person and example of Jesus Christ. Therefore, if you want to know your maker, and you want to live an authentic life, get to know Jesus and actively share what you learn with others.