Some may have left home because of the feeling of being neglected, abandoned, abused, burned out and discriminated against by the actions taken by some in the Church. Maybe some just stopped coming because life just got too busy, so they fell into a routine. It may be possible that leaders who were in the Church said something to them that scared them away. That person may not be there any longer. It is up to those who are attending Church now to invite those people to come back home for Christmas, and to continue coming.
We need to learn how to do what we did so very well in the beginning of the Church, evangelize. It is important to become stronger in that skill. We need to witness with our action and with our voices. The Holy Spirit will give us the strength to do this if we pray and ask for guidance.
The Gospel of John states, "God sent His messenger, a man named John, who came to tell the people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe." John 1:6-7
John the Baptist was not afraid to take his message to all who would listen to him. I'm sure you know of one or more people who are in the need of hearing this message, a message of light where there is so much darkness, where so many Christians have had to leave their homes like the Holy Family.
Many families around the world are fleeing their homes due to war, violence and fear of death because of their Christian belief. Many are being separated from their families. National Migration week is Jan. 4-10, 2015. The theme is "We Are One Family Under God."
The message of Jesus the Prince of Peace needs to be brought to our families, neighbors, schools and communities in the midst of everything that is going on. Our churches can be places where we can invite them to come and hear about the love of God, hear His Word, and share with one another. We believe that we are all made in the image and likeness of God.
Make sure that our parish family is ready to welcome everyone equally when they come home. All leaders need to be welcoming and greet the newcomers with open arms. The diocese provides training to help with this welcome. Leaders in the Church have a great responsibility and need to center themselves in prayer. As a leader, I must recognize that I am different, I am imitating Christ because I am made in God's image and likeness. I need to share the love of Christ with everyone who comes in contact with me.
As leaders we must also recognize that each one of us is given gifts to be shared and should look to help others see the gifts that they have been given.