Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Let us build a house where love can dwell,
and all can safely live,
A place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hope and dreams and visions, Rock of faith
and vault of grace.
Here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.
We’re all very familiar with the words to this hymn. When we join our voices in singing these words, I would hope that our prayer would be sincere. A parish, a family of faith, should be a place where everyone feels at home and yet we know in practice this does not always happen. Too often we separate ourselves by age, by ethnic background, by the organizations we belong to, and even by who is from the area or not. Sometimes we are aware of the divisions we create, other times we do it without thinking much about it.
The Canaanite woman in the Gospel this week knows that she does not belong among God’s holy people and yet she still has faith that Jesus would heal her daughter. Once Jesus realizes the depth of her faith, he grants her the miracle she is looking for.
Jesus came to save me, he came to save you, he came to save everyone. Although none of us did anything to merit this gift, Jesus welcomed us into his life of grace. Knowing this, how could we not do everything in our power to make sure all feel welcome, loved, and forgiven in our parish family.