In both the Old and New Testaments, hospitality is a sacred duty. In our reading from 2 Kings, a “woman of influence” is blessed with a son because of hospitality shown to the prophet Elisha. Similarly, Abraham and Sarah were promised a son after Abraham showed hospitality to three strangers. In the Gospel, Jesus promises a proper reward to those who show hospitality, even doing something as simple as giving a drink of water to someone who is thirsty.
Jesus lived a life of being welcoming and showing hospitality, especially to those rejected by others. He ate with sinners like Zacchaeus, He welcomed children, He told us to invite the lowly to gatherings and welcome strangers, etc. One of the few things we know He did after His resurrection was to prepare breakfast on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias for His disciples, who had abandoned and/or denied Him.
I think hospitality, especially to those in need who cannot repay, is what Jesus had in mind when He said, “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” In other words, when we can think of more than ourselves, when we can reach out and help those in need (“lose our life”), we are imitating Jesus and bringing His love and generosity to the world. And that is the true meaning of living a Christian life.
I invite us to spend time this week reflecting on the many instances in which Jesus was welcoming to those who could never repay Him, asking ourselves how we are doing at following His example. God bless.
Church sign of the week: Welcome! There are no strangers here: only friends we haven’t yet met.