In the world, we don't welcome people because we don't welcome competition. We see other people as a threat. If they take their cut, there's less for us. We tend to be jealous, possessive, and contentious. We compare ourselves with others to see who is greatest (Lk 9:46).
In Jesus' kingdom, it should be the opposite. We welcome people with open arms. Other people are not "them"; they're "us." We're all members of the same body. "If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy" (1 Cor 12:26). We owe encouragement (Phil 2:1) and love (Rm 13:8) to one another. When we welcome our brothers and sisters in Christ, we welcome Christ and the Father (Lk 9:48). When we welcome one part of Christ's body, we must welcome all. "If then you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me" (Phlm 17).
At our death or at the end of the world, we will be welcomed as we welcome. Either the devil will "welcome" us with clenched fists, abuse, and insults, or we will be greeted by angels, saints, family, loved ones, and Jesus Himself. They will embrace us and say: "Welcome home."
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from August 1, 2005 through September 30, 2005.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2005.