This isn't a post about whether or not you should dress up for Mass.
This is a post about evangelizing.
Today after the Corpus Christi procession we stopped by Albertsons' for some lunch supplies since it was already two and the kids were wilting. While I was inside looking at the cracker selection – have you noticed that it takes about forty ingredients you have never heard of to make an oyster cracker? – a man came up to me and asked if I went to church.
This was kind of a strange question and one I hadn't fielded in the snack isle of the grocery store before. I said yes and he said he was pretty sure I did because I was the only person in the store wearing a tie. Then he asked what church was safe to go to. Another odd question.
He explained that he was just a workman and didn't have any nice clothes and was worried that he wouldn't be welcome in a church if he wasn't dressed up. He said that he had always wanted to go to a church but wasn't sure what to expect. He said he had been abandoned by his stripper mother when he was a kid and hadn't ever been religious.
I told him that Holy Ghost, our church downtown was a very welcoming church to the point that you could always find various homeless people in the pews during and after Mass. He said he knew where that church was and lived close.
I suggested he go there during the week or on a Sunday and ask the priest any questions he may have. He thanked me and walked away.
I have often said that a priest in clerics or a religious in a habit was a witness just by what they wore and have heard many stories about people who have learned more about the Faith or gone to confession for the first time in years because they happened to recognize a priest as a priest at an airport or some other unlikely location.
I had never considered dressing up for Mass to be anything more than a response to being in God's presence but I guess in our casual world dressing up on Sunday can be a witness to the world that THIS day is different. It was the first time in my life that something like that has ever happened and it may never happen again. However, if I continue to wear a tie to Mass for the rest of my life and never have someone come up to me again I will still think that this one time made it worthwhile.