When I was in high school, I went to one of our varsity soccer games in a nearby town. Soccer was big in our school, replacing football as our anchor sport. I remember one game on a warm and sunny Saturday morning; the team we were playing was very good.
At one point, the ball went out of bounds, way out. In fact, it went out of the boundaries of the field, and down a little slope toward the parking lot. The other team's high scorer was standing at that corner of the field and watched it go. Soon his team mates yelled at him to go get the ball.
He yelled back "THAT'S NOT MY JOBBBB!!!" He said it a few times, as his teammates urged him to go get the ball so the game could start again. "That's not my job!! That is NOT MY JOB!"
That phrase has been an inside (my head) joke that still makes me laugh. Something about this team star, muscly athlete yelling "THAT'S NOT MY JOB!" just cracks me up. I can't even remember what happened, or who ended up going to get the darn thing so they could start up the game again.
I thought of this memory again today during one of our training meetings. I asked the staff members, representing all four of our parishes, to commit to being a welcomer at the Mass they attended. To be helpful before and after Mass, when seeing someone who needs a seat, when noticing a newcomer and to be the person who says hello to everyone coming in their churches. Most of them raised their hands to commit but some did not. I could almost hear them whispering "that's nooootttttmyyyyyyjobbbbbb."
But of course it is their job. And my job and yours. Not because we work at a church, but because we are baptized and commanded to be disciples who make disciples.
When crisis hit here in New England in the 1990s, our people struggled to breathe amidst the churning waters of scandal. We all came to the realization that change needed to come to this Church. I saw people walk away, yelling with their actions: "THAT'S NOT MY JOB!"
But of course it was their job. And my job and yours. Not because we are trying to keep the Church alive, but because we are baptized and urged to be disciples who make disciples.
My hope, my dream, for people who walk into church, for whatever reason, is that someone - anyone - will smile at them. If they’re late and looking for a seat, I hope that someone will beckon them over to their pew and slide over to give them room. And I hope together we can make the Church a welcoming place for everyone. I'm willing to do what I can to make that happen. After all, it's my job.