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Welcome the stranger

It’s “Back to School Time” — for children and adults.

Take a deep breath! Turn the pages of your life back to when you were a child in school. It’s recess time and everyone wants to play dodgeball. The captains are chosen. and one-by-one they pick their teams. Where you ever chosen last?

Another day. . . It’s the annual school spelling bee. Everyone so far has spelled his or her word correctly. Now, it’s your turn. You’re nervous and you misspell your first word. Were you ever the first one to sit down?

One more. . . There’s a birthday party that you really want to go to, but you don’t get invited.

Remember an experience when you here personally excluded or when you saw others being excluded. What was the experience like? Who was involved? Why were you or the others excluded? Did it test your faith?

Listen to today’s Bible readings with all this in mind.

As the Church today, we are charged with making God’s universal offer of salvation a reality, right here in Castle Rock and throughout Douglas County. Our mission is to grow our faith, deepen our faith, and extend our faith to others still coming to believe, the foreigner, the stranger, the excluded.

My former parish, Corpus Christi in Colorado Springs, had a wonderful custom of everyone turning to each other before Mass began and welcoming each other. A simple “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” or, if you didn’t know someone, a friendly introduction: “My name is. . . What’s yours?”. These simple gestures go a long way in living the message of today’s Bible readings. Give it a try!

Faith is not just a personal “Me and Jesus” relationship. It’s a relationship that is the entire Church and must be extended! Welcome the stranger! Include the foreigner! Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know and get to know them. Give it a try!

Fr. Mark Zacker



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