by Ken Rolheiser
Walk with us to meet Jesus 

Father Brendan McGuire says we have stopped inviting people to join us at church. We tend to scold rather than encourage. Jesus always gently invited his disciples, “Come follow me.”

McGuire puts the invitation like this, “Come. Come see what we do. Come see where we live.” I am reminded of  a Christian minister in Canora who sits at the cashiers’ desk in the thrift store every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. The Food Bank receives the revenue from the store.

“Come, walk with me. See what my life is like.” That is our gentle invitation to our fellow earthly pilgrims. Jesus should be visible outside our churches. Too often we think that others will see Jesus if we can only get them to church.

Jesuit Greg Boyle says "As humans, we confine the divine." We limit where God works. And McGuire says, “As religious people, we have this unfortunate tendency to think that God is in the Chalice and not in the Cup; that he is in the Church and not in the Home. That he is in our sacred liturgies and not in our ordinary conversations.”

Our Church has always taught that God is everywhere. Invited or not, God is present. Young people in particular will find God in our actions more than in the theological renditions of ancient past, McGuire says.

Come and see us serving the homeless. Come and see us serving those who are most in need. That is how we invite and not scold. “Come and see what we do with our lives.” That is our testimony.

We can go directly to God through Jesus Christ. "I am the gate. Anyone who enters through Me will be safe; such a one will go in and out and will find pasture” (John 10:9). We can reach God. through a personal relationship with Him.

Imagine being at a social gathering where everyone seeks warm friends to share companionship. Now imagine Jesus as standing next to you, smiling and supportive. That’s where our Lord longs to be. How great it feels to know Jesus has our backs.

It is not only in good times that Jesus wants to be next to us. "Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

And for the long haul, Jesus wants to be with us. "I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever hunger; no one who believes in me will ever thirst.” (John 6:35)

But we need to eat this bread to maintain life, and Christ must be invited into our daily walk to sustain spiritual life. Then we can be a billboard that says to others, “Walk with us; worship with us; join our efforts this week to look after the needy.”

Above all, let us extend the inviting message of Jesus: “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). "Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share a meal at that person’s side”  (Revelations 3:20).

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