"It's been so long!"

Coming Back to Church

I often hear from people hesitating to return to practicing the faith saying "it's been so long since I've been in Church."  This presents an obstacle for many of them because somehow feeling awkward or even out of place.   It's a reality that we sometimes drift away from our faith.  There are as many reasons as there are people who haven't been to church in a while.   More often than not the blame is ours priests, parish leaders, or even poor example from practicing Catholics.   The victims are often people who are genuinely seeking truth, goodness, beauty, God.   No greater harm has been done to the Lord's Church than our negligence and scandals, but no greater joy is there in heaven than for one who returns to the faith.

Those who have been away ought to consider themselves the VIP's of our parishes, in the midset of Pope Francis who told the bishops to seek them out.   Those who believe understand that the encounter with Jesus Christ is the greatest gift God has given us and are eager to share this encounter with others.    When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid themselves from God, they turned away from him.   Immediately God's response was to ask Adam, "where are you?". (cf. Gen. 3).   The Scriptures reveal to us that when we depart or drift away from God, God misses us.   The longer we have been away the greater the joy of the Lord to have us back.  

It may have been some time, it may have been a painful separation.  Whatever the case, the Church welcomes you with open arms, because the Lord demands it so.   The Church offers you forgiveness because the Lord wants it so.   The Church is anxiously waiting, because the Lord Jesus waits for you.   It's not about "rules" or money, or numbers, or "feeling good".  It's about you and Jesus because he wants to enter into a relationship of love with you.  No matter how long it's been...welcome home. 

Fr. Vásquez



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