Want to know what I love about this Blessed is She sisterhood? Authenticity!
I love the open dialogue when we share the triumphs and trials we face as a Church. You know the domestic church takes place around your kitchen table, or the boardroom, on your college campus, and the cancer ward. . . not just when we are in the pews.
Ladies, you are not afraid to love one another into honest conversations about surrender, wounds, sacrifice, and unexplainable joy. This truthfulness is necessary if we are going to welcome everyone into the Church.
In the Gospel today, Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them.” Since we are called to have faith like a child (Matthew 18:3), this message is for us just as much as it is for the baby in the cry room. We are all called to come to Him! But sometimes we are like the Apostles, preventing our brothers and sisters from encountering Christ.
Sometimes we impede the path for our brothers and sisters to run like children, freely to Him. We miss out on opportunities for gently guiding the broken into a relationship with the One Who loves them and died for them as they are. Sometimes, the rebukes we speak are silently internal; often they are so frighteningly audible that Christ shudders; mostly, they are our self righteous pride. We are all sinners in need of the merciful embrace of Christ, and His grace, to live His teachings more fully.
When has judgment and gossip prevented you or someone you know from walking through the doors of church? Why should men and women with same-sex attraction struggling to live the teachings of the Church on chastity feel unwelcomed in our churches instead of embraced? Why are we not loving those who have been wounded by divorce and are going through an annulment process to receive answers and healing from God? And what about the reality of mental health and actively loving people in their darkest days? “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
Our work within the Church must go beyond the pews and parking lots!
Today, let’s look in the mirror and recognize how we prevent friends, neighbors, family members, or even strangers from a real relationship with Christ. Let us help create a path for everyone to know His love and mercy and experience the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-sized heart for hospitality. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen, International, and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, she is either in church, spending time with family or friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk. You can find out more about her here.
This devotion was written for these readings about a month ago. We are mourning and greatly troubled by the abuse within our beloved Church. We are praying with you. Lord, be near.