All of us have known the fear and trepidation of entering a room full of strangers, wondering if we would be accepted, hoping for a friendly face, a reassuring welcome…

Jesus in His bread of life discourse (Jn 6, 35ff) did say, “…and I will not reject anyone who comes to me…” Beautiful words of unconditional acceptance, putting to rest one’s anxieties, giving us confidence that we will not be turned away.

Being welcome, having the feeling of being “wanted” is ultimately not found in beautiful homes, even if the home radiates warmth; it is not found in food heartily served, although the food may be sumptuous, not in a comfortable bed, even if it will give us restful sleep. Welcome is found and felt in the sacred and precious place in the heart, shown in gestures of gentleness, kindness, serviceability and of belonging. And the greatest place of unconditional acceptance is in the always compassionate and merciful heart of the Lord.

Have you ever had someone with whom you felt unconditional acceptance?

Can you remember the time, the place, the event, the senses, the “colors” of that experience?

Have you ever been called to be an instrument of unconditional acceptance?

How was the experience for you?