‘Welcome Christ in Your heart’. It seems straightforward doesn’t it? There’s also a certain ‘glow’ about the phrase: every time someone mentions the word heart, we feel as though we should respond. In some way or another, we feel we are being tugged.
Have another look. Have another listen.
Ponder those words, if you would, each of them. Turn them over in your mind and speak them slowly. Chew them over.
Mmm… after a while, they can lose their flavour. Either we think they are banal – a simple slogan meant to get you in the door – spit them out – or, now that I think about it, they are just too demanding. There’s that word ‘welcome’, for example, and I’m not sure who Christ is, to be honest. I’m not sure I want him across the door. And as for my heart…well, it’s been through enough.
Yes, we know. We’ve been there.
This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. In the gospel, we hear part of the dialogue between Pilate, the Roman Governor and Jesus. We perhaps have more in common with Pilate than we do with Christ. We too are skeptical, unconvinced. We want to believe but we too have questions for Jesus – at least as he is presented by the Church and by others.
In these days, I’m offering a series of reflections on these words. Already, a ‘symphony’ – if not a very well organized one – is sounding in my head. There are the sounds of voices calling to me from different directions. There is the Gospel of Luke, for starters. That’s the gospel we are going to be reading in this new Church Year. It is a gospel which talks a lot about what ‘welcome’ really means and how those who were considered nobodies were the ones who were willing to welcome: Mary, Elizabeth, Zacchaeus, a father with troublesome sons, a traveler probably despised by the person he rescued. Those are just some who spring to mind.
Then, of course, there is Advent, a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord. ‘A time of hassle and pressure, you mean.’ Exactly, that’s what I’m on about. That’s where we are and why we find it so difficult to welcome anything or anyone new.
O, and John the Baptist. He crops up in Advent doesn’t he? He was nuts!
And, there’s our poor old hearts, troubled, anxious, broken…but still beating and still hopeful.
We have confidence you will, if you journey with us, receive the grace you need this Advent and Christmas. Stay with us, please, through these weeks, or at least, pop in from time to time. You are welcome.