I love Palm Sunday. We get to see more people on Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday than we do most of the year. And while many people find it annoying that these folks only show up during these times (and maybe in addition Christmas and Easter) we have such an opportunity to feed them some good spirituality.
I would also challenge those who don't like these people that they may be the reasons that they don't show up more often. Complaining about their lack of attendance might just be the nudge they needed to go right back out the door from whence they came--and most likely not to return again. Other traditions would fall over backwards welcoming these people with open arms each and every Sunday--and yet, we don't do that often enough--not even four times a year when we know they're going to make their way back to us. There's a lot of hatred out there--why not be a force for positive change? Pastors often are too busy with preparations as are the rest of the staff--what is it that we can do as laity to take on the task of welcoming people into our pews this Palm Sunday?
So today, ask yourself--not father, not deacon, not the choir director...
How can you welcome someone in your parish that you might not see on a regular basis?
That's where we need to be this Holy Week...and I pray that we all find it in our hearts to do just that.
Your humble blogger is Mike Hayes, a well-known expert in the world of young adult ministry (20s and 30s) in the Catholic Church. Mike is the author of Googling God (Paulist, 2007) where he explores both the chaotic world that young people live in and their religious reactions to that world. He also explores the age of instant gratification and how churches can respond to the needs of the young adult age by using technology alongside more traditional ministry methods.
Mike founded the award winning BustedHalo.com® in 2001 and continues to contribute to it as the editor of their catechetical section appropriately named Googling God.
Recently, he left BustedHalo® to focus on more direct ministry with young people at St Joseph University Parish as a Campus Minister for the South Campus at the University at Buffalo.
He has only two loves: his adorable wife, Marion and a nine pound chihuahua named Haze, who still find him amusing enough to let them live in their home.