I had been trying all week to come up with a homily for the Epiphany, but for some reason, nothing came to mind. And then, on New Year’s Eve, I caught the last 5 minutes of the Foo Fighters front man being interviewed on NPR. He said some really fascinating things, and although he probably didn’t realize it, some of the things he said speak to our celebration of the appearance of the Magi. Immediately when I got back home, I searched for the interview and found some fascinating excerpts from his interview:
1) “When I went to my first punk rock show, there was this real sense of community and that tribe of those like-minded kids that maybe all felt the same.
That was one of the things I loved so much was the people coming together.”
And 2) “This was where everyone could come; these were the misfits; these were the weirdos these were the freaks; but this is where they found their tribe and their community, and I felt like them, and when we get together there’s some comfort and some reassurance in that. “Oh, this is where we belong.”
What Dave Grohl, the lead singer of Foo Fighters was getting it is there was a comfort in belonging to a tribe, and I think we all know what he means. Even the Jews had 12 TRIBES, and those 12 tribes didn’t always get along.
But what we celebrate today with the arrival of the non-Jews from the East is the end of tribal divisions… or at least the possibility that now exists to end tribalism.
All have the option of joining the one tribe of the Catholic Church. And that is good news, particularly for the poor, the misfits, the freaks, the drug addicts, the abused, the broken, all are now invited to join the ultimate tribe of the Catholic Church.
Imagine whatever you think is the worst sin – anyone who has committed that sin is still welcome here in the Catholic Church. Of course, for the non-Catholic and the fallen-away Catholic, there are some simple rites of initiation or reconciliation if you want to participate fully and take advantage of all that the Church offers, but we need to let everyone in our community know that they are welcome to come in, and even to attend Mass.
We have signs in front of our Church saying that all welcome to come inside, and yet still I got a call a few months ago from a person who said he sat out in the parking lot at Annunciation for a half hour trying to work up the courage to come in, and he finally did and he was so glad, and he just called to thank us for leaving our Church open.
How many people out there are in that exact same position? How many people don’t think they’re welcome in our Churches? The Devil of course desires to sift us all like sand, each our own individual grain, each ultimately our own tribe, but God desires to draw everyone together into the one tribe of the Catholic Church.
Let us go out and invite people to just come in. Because only here will they find the end of tribalism.