Many Protestants are used to seeing a preacher invite listeners to accept Jesus as Savior. What should I tell them if they ask me whether our priests ever give such an invitation at Mass?
The invitation to accept Jesus as one’s personal Savior has a specific meaning in certain Protestant circles. For them, accepting Jesus as one’s personal Savior is how one becomes a Christian. It is being born again. At this juncture they consider themselves “saved,” and this holds despite any future sins they may commit. As Catholics, we believe that the process of salvation begins at baptism, continues by the way we live, and is complete only when we are judged at the end of our lives. We believe that it is through baptism that we become members of Christ.
While we don’t have an altar call, as they refer to it, the Mass is full of invitations. For example, just before the preface, the priest invites the people to “Lift up your hearts,” adding, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.” At one point he takes the host in his hands and he says: “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper.” Talk about invitations!
Communion itself is an invitation to receive the whole Christ, not just into our hearts but into our whole being, body and soul. There is nothing on the face of the earth that can equal this. Unfortunately, so many Catholics are ignorant of what they have.