A Message to the Untexased

Drove past Sam Houston’s birthplace. It reminded me of the time when an errand took me on the interstate through the Texas panhandle…

Heat pounded down from the wide summer sky. I entered Amarillo, and the moment ripened. Time to stop for a cold one.

When I got out of my car at a watering hole, I took my first step on Texas soil.

I sat beside a friendly fellow, a bona fide Texan, born and bred. A proud Texan. He extolled the superlative qualities of Texas life, the state that excels all others in business and pleasure.

The man called me pardner. I did not have it in me to respond in kind; I called him ‘man,’ which is what we say where I come from.

My pardner did not hesitate to invite me to make the great expanse of Texas my new home.

As I sat there cooling off, listening to this earnest gentleman, this foreign land stretched in enormous dimensions before me, full of unfamiliar things like cacti and armadilli.

But my pardner’s kindness made me think: If someday the good Lord wills for me to pitch my tent here in this foreign country, well, a great adventure no doubt awaits.

The One Who summoned Abram from Ur of the Chaldees to the Promised Land has yet to make any indications to me that I belong in Texas. Quite the contrary, I intend to stay somewhere near US 220 in Virginny until at AD 2023.

But remembering my pardner, and thinking about all the good people of the world who don’t really know what a ‘parable’ is, or a ‘second collection,’ or a ‘missalette,’ has moved me to offer this message:

Dear Unchurched Reader,

It is a pleasure to be with you. Our Church probably seems like a foreign land where people talk funny. We toss words around which do not come naturally to your lips.

But look: There is no place on earth where the living is better than in the Catholic Church. Come on in. Before long, you will get used to all the things that seem strange now. The Church is a great deal bigger even than Texas. It is plenty big enough for you.

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