Sitting before the Blessed Sacrament in church today, during our Corpus Christi-tide day of prayer, I was reading Henri Nouwen’s wonderful book With Burning Hearts. Commenting on the Road to Emmaus story Nouwen talked of the hospitality of the Mass, and how welcoming the stranger into our space brings change.
Just at that moment the church door opened and a man with two small girls called out a cheerful greeting and walked up the church to me. I’ve known him and his wife for a few years. They are Muslims, refugees from Kapisa province in North East Afghanistan. He asked if I could sign papers to help his daughters to become naturalised British subjects.
It was a poignant moment. In Church, in the presence of Christ, I was reminded of the Christian calling to welcome ‘strangers.’ More significantly in that one moment I had before me the spiritual reality of Our Lord present in the Sacrament and also in the faces of those on the margins.