I bought this pineapple at Kroger’s so that I could use it during my homily this morning. And, best of all, after I use it for the homily, I can take it home and eat it. Has anyone had fresh pineapple? It’s really good, isn’t it?
When I was growing up, the only pineapple that we had was pineapple from a can. Now, this is OK, but fresh pineapple is much better. When I was in the Air Force, we were stationed in Hawaii and lived for one year on the north shore. I drove through the pineapple fields on my way to and from work. And we often bought pineapples which had recently been picked. I developed a love for pineapple and look forward to eating this one.
Maybe you’ve seen welcome mats with pineapples on them. There’s an interesting story connected with pineapples. Over one hundred years ago, before there were airplanes, most travel was done by great ships that traveled over the sea. When a great sea captain returned from some exotic place, he’d bring home a pineapple and put the pineapple on his front gate. There were two reasons why he did that: first, not many of his neighbors had ever seen a pineapple, and they thought it was really neat-looking; the second reason was so he could let everyone know that he was home and he wanted people to come visit. Back then, if you saw a pineapple on somebody’s front gate, it meant “Welcome! I’d like for you to come visit my house.” Even today, we use the pineapple as a symbol for welcoming people.
Last Sunday was the feast of Christ the King. Christ wants to welcome each one of us into heaven. Who knows, there might even be a pineapple on the front gate there to welcome us. Of course, we weren’t very welcoming to Christ while he was here on earth. First Herod tried to kill him when he ordered all of the Jewish boys under three to be killed. Then, thirty years later, Christ was crucified as King of the Jews. By Jesus accepting this rude welcoming, he shows his great love for us. We have to choose whether or not we’ll accept his invitation to join him in heaven as we either welcome him into our lives or turn away from him day in and day out.
How do we welcome Jesus into our lives? By praying to him, by following his commandments, by going to mass, by helping others. We don’t need to put a pineapple outside our houses, do we? We have to do is pray to Jesus and to follow his commandments. Let us pray, “Lord Jesus, I’m so glad you came to earth to tell us about your Father and to show us the way to heaven. I want you to come into my heart, my life, and my home this Christmas.”