Monday, May 16, 2011
Then in walk your guests. Most of them have a seat for a moment to be polite, but are oblivious to the beautiful table; some express concern that the table setting is "too old-fashioned", that you should provide some snappy music, or even a television to accompany their meal. Some of your guests don't even bother to sit down. Most have a plastic bag with them so they can take their share with them. They stab at the meats and ignore most of the sides. They turn their noses up at the vegetables; they shove a hunk of dessert in their mouths with their hands. They tromp out the door, some with a half-wave, some without bothering with a simple "thank you". Only a handful of guests remain to sadly dine on the pilfered remains.
Welcome to the Church in the US.
"This is a HUGE CHURCH, far flung all over the globe; hundreds of cultures, scores of languages..."
A huge Church--an important point. Here in the US we tend to think that we're the center of the Universe, and that our way is the only way. The fact is, there are 1.1 billion Catholics in this world, and only 6% of us live in America. Perhaps we don't realize this, but were it not for immigration the Church in America would not be growing; whereas the Church in many other parts of the world (parts of the world that adhere to Catholic teaching and tradition wholly, I might add) is growing exponentially.
If you were seeking spiritual sustenance, and you saw Catholics treating their Church like those guests treated the dinner party I described above, would you want to join it?
Put the bag away and brush up on your table manners, US Catholics; it's time to have a seat at the banquet.