"Look at me. Did you notice me today? I was someone new in your church---someone who had been away for a long time. You shook my hand and smiled at the 'sign of Peace' time. But later after church---no one stopped to say 'Hello, I have not seen you before.' No one welcomed me back or even noticed that for some reason I had not been able to attend Mass like before. No one. But Jesus noticed, and He smiled and sent me His love---saying--'I understand, they don't see Me either.' How sad no one saw me or Jesus in me today."
Recently I was blessed with the gift of giving a parishoner a ride to church--to come to Mass and get to go to Confession. She had become blind and was unable to drive anymore, and was homebound for some time. A faithful member of that church for years--I thought surely many would come by and give her a wonderful welcome and words of joy at seeing her again. Not so, after Mass, only the priest and the organist I waved over greeted her. The organist was thrilled at her sight and gave a huge smile and cry "Oh it is so good to see you."
This truly saddened me that others just walked by. We miss so many opportunities to evangelize by simply saying "HELLO--I don't remember seeing you before." Maybe it is someone wanting to come and learn more about the faith. Maybe it is someone returning home and will be discouraged when no one welcomes them back. For whatever reason the stranger has graced our church---NOTICE THE FACE AND WELCOME THEM!!
Remember His words----"I was a stranger and you did not take Me in" Matthew 25:43