Muslims at Mass, oh My!

Muslims at Mass, oh My! July 31, 2016


Take a look at this. French Muslims attended Mass today all over France, to mourn for Father Jacques Hamel and to show solidarity with French Christians.

There are at least two ways of looking at this. You could be pleased. You could say, “How wonderful that they are worshiping God with us, and I hope they return. I hope that God uses this opportunity to speak to them.” Or, “Even though we disagree on many theological points, even there has been so much historic strife between us, how wonderful that such different children of Abraham can gather under the same roof and pray in peace. May the God of Abraham make us one as He is One.” You could even say, “I’m so glad that most French Muslims are not at all like the French terrorists we’ve heard so much about. I’m so glad I was wrong about their culture, and I want to learn who they really are.”

Or, you could think about it differently. You could be very displeased about Muslims at Mass.  You could say “I wonder what they’re plotting. I’m sure they’re using this as an opportunity to worm their way in and hurt more Christians.” You could say “They never should have let Muslims into Mass like that. Mass is for us. What if one of them had tried to receive Communion! A Mass isn’t a time for solidarity of this sort. It’s liturgical abuse.” Or, you could say “How dare they let those people into a Catholic church! What if one of them had been a suicide bomber?”

Which is the right way to think about things?

Well, the Gospel tells us that the God of Abraham, when He became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, said, “And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner.”  And also, “As you did to the least of my brethren, you did to me.” And if you believe and profess that Christ is the God of Abraham, you are bound by Christ’s commands.

Pretend that, for some good reason, you ended up having to walk into a mosque when prayers were being held. Pretend that, for some good reason, Jesus Christ walked into a mosque. How would you like the worshipers there to treat you and Jesus? Think for a moment.

Have you fixed in your mind what you’d like that to look like?

Then what you think about Islam is really beside the point. You shouldn’t believe calumny against other faiths; it’s part of your duty in justice to educate yourself. But, even if Muslims were every bit as rabid and violent as the worst caricatures would have us believe (and they’re not), you still have to treat them as you would like to be treated, and you still have to treat them like Christ. No matter who approaches you, inside or outside of the church, you have to receive them as you would receive the Host, reverence them as you would reverence the Tabernacle, venerate them as you would venerate an icon. Because that’s what they are.

(image via Pixabay)



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