I’ve learned to be a functional introvert, forcing myself to say hello to strangers and trying not to wiggle out of a conversation too quickly. I do it not because I want to or to be a better person. It’s so I won’t be a hypocrite when I tell parish leaders and parishioners that they need to pay attention to strangers, newcomers, and visitors. It’s the least we can do. Yet today’s familiar Gospel passage calls us—calls me—to do more.
Like the two on the road to Emmaus, we must not only allow the stranger into our conversation but plead with them, “Stay with us.” Stay with us and share your story. Stay with us for a meal. Stay with us that we may see the world through your eyes. Stay with us and change us.“Stay with us.” Stay with us and share your story. Stay with us for a meal. Stay with us that we may see the world through your eyes. Stay with us and change us. Click To Tweet
The Gospel call doesn’t end there. We then must go, leave our plans behind, and tell others what we have seen and known: that the stranger is where we will find the risen Christ.
The Christian community must be a company of strangers who do not merely tolerate outsiders, offering a forced welcome or greeting. Rather we realize that without them, we would be lost on the road, hearts closed in on ourselves, missing Christ right before our eyes.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”