Catholicism: What We Do pt. 2
In the early days of Christianity, followers of Jesus gathered together to remember Christ and celebrate what he did at the Last Supper. They met in homes and open spaces. These were not sacred dwellings, rather they became sacred by those who gathered. Gathering as a community was important for those early believers. It offered them the opportunity to support each other in their faith and concerns. Gathering together is a continuation of the community established by Christ.
Good Shepherd’s is made up of primarily ex-pats or immigrants. Almost 30 percent of the population in the Canton of Zug is made up of foreigners. When arriving in a foreign land, integration is an important part of life. It can enrich the experience and be helpful in easing into local life. As newcomers to a community, greeting and welcoming one another is important. Locals can be skeptical about opening their lives and homes to strangers, but as a Christian community we must open our doors. Jesus is clear in Matthew 25:31-46 in “The Judgment of the Nations” when he says, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
In many churches today in the English speaking world you will find someone who greets you by simply opening the door, handing out a song book with an Order of the Mass, ushering or answering questions. This is called the Ministry of Hospitality. There is some discussion as to the necessity of this ministry. Some people don’t want to be greeted, for whatever reason. Others appreciate this small gesture. I believe that this first encounter is more helpful than it is harmful.
Jesus entered that room (John 20:19-21) and stood in the midst of the disciples and said, “Peace be with you.” He greeted them and said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” As a continuation of the community established by Jesus, don’t you think we should begin to view Mass as something we do together and not simply a private matter?