When I was in high school, I went to one of our Varsity soccer games, in nearby Bath. Soccer was big in our school- taking Football's place as our anchor sport in the Fall. I remember that this game happened on a warm and sunny Saturday morning, and the team we were playing against 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 (in my memory, in some kind of southern accent? It's unlikely, but that's how it sounds in my head 30+ years later) "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, in that accent, 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 damned thing so they could start up again.
I was thinking about it today because this week in one of our trainings, I asked the staff members there, representing all four of our parishes, to commit to being a welcomer at any Mass they attended. Before or after, when seeing someone who needs a seat, when noticing a newcomer- to be the person who says hello to everyone coming in their churches. Most of them raised their hands to commit but some didn't, and I could almost hear them whispering "that's noooottttt myyyyyy jobbbbbb." But of course it is their job, and my job, and yours- not because we all work at churches, but because we are baptized and urged to be disciples who make disciples.
When the pastoral poop hit the fan around here in the 90s and our churches were struggling even to take a deep breath while we tried to stay afloat in the churning waters of scandal, and 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.
I hope that the next time you walk into a church, for whatever reason, that someone will smile at you. If you're late and looking for a seat, I hope that someone will beckon you over to their pew and slide over to give you 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.