If I got to decide who belonged to the People of God, I might not be as generous as I should be. People annoy me sometimes. I disagree with them and I am disagreeable with them. I look around at the people with whom I share a faith and wonder – how did they get like this and what could we possibly have in common?
Lucky for us all, I don’t get to decide who’s in the Church. We hear in this weekend’s readings that God has cast a wider net than we might have in mind. I am reminded of Joyce’s pronouncement that Catholicism means “here comes everybody”.
Everybody comes needing something: rules, community, self-discipline, quiet, guidance, a cause. And no matter what particular thing we came for, we get all of those things and more. I have to accept that the folks who come to faith looking for certainty as are welcome as I, who comes looking for questions. Those who vote Republican because they are Catholic are as driven and thoughtful as I, who couldn’t vote Republican if you put a gun to my head. Even though they make me crazy, even though they may think I’m not a “real” or a “good” Catholic, they’re in it with me. The Body of Christ would be incomplete without them.
Since I’m not always clear headed or well-rested enough to believe all I just wrote, it’s a good thing I don’t get to decide who’s in or out.
Observe what is right, do what is just;
for my salvation is about to come,
my justice, about to be revealed.
The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
ministering to him,
loving the name of the LORD,
and becoming his servants-
all who keep the sabbath free from profanation
and hold to my covenant,
them I will bring to my holy mountain
and make joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be acceptable on my altar,
for my house shall be called
a house of prayer for all peoples. – Is 56:1, 6-7