If you have been away from your Catholic faith, I personally want to invite you to take another look and to consider joining us once again, to come home. My desire for us to be reunited is so strong that I accepted the offer from Tom Peterson, founder of Catholics Come Home Inc., to air television commercials during February and March 2010. These commercials share information about the church that may be new to you, inspire you to reflect on where you are in life and invite you to join literally thousands of other Americans who are returning to our Catholic family.
Do not think, however, that these commercials are directed only to those in our community who no longer join us regularly for Eucharist. These commercials invite each of us who desire to be disciples of Jesus Christ to allow God to draw us ever more deeply into relationship with him and with his body, the church. Quite simply, Jesus asks each of us "What are you looking for?" (John 1:37) and then invites us to follow him. Jesus himself is the answer to all that we desire, all we yearn for and seek in life.
Why air television advertisements? Because there is no better time than the present to share our faith and these commercials will help us reach every household in northeast Wisconsin. "Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) As Christians, we have been blessed by a life transforming encounter with the living person of Jesus Christ and are charged to share this Good News with others.
As Pope Benedict XVI expressed in "Saved by Hope," "To come to know God — the true God — means to receive hope. We who have always lived with the Christian concept of God have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God." I hope you share my enthusiasm over this new and exciting way to share the hope that we indeed possess.
And to my dear brothers and sisters who are not participating regularly in our eucharistic assembly, I assure you that we cannot help but notice your absence. We feel the pain of separation from you. Perhaps you grew up Catholic but then slipped away when you moved out on your own. Perhaps you were married and then experienced the pain of divorce but mistakenly believed (or even heard) you were excommunicated when your divorce decree came through.
Perhaps on Sundays you found yourself enjoying a latte in your Door County cabin or beside a soccer field, but now you notice that something deeper is missing in your life. No matter the reason, perhaps now is the time for you to come home. I invite you to come home to your faith community, the Catholic Church, which celebrates Eucharist every Sunday and every single day of the week, praying for your safe return.