A Letter From Fr. Paul — July 17, 2016
Two special events in our Salvatorian Family will be celebrated at Pius in the coming months: for 9 months we prayed for Salvatorian candidate Simon Muema, who, after serving a meal at a food program, was shot three times in a robbery. Simon is finishing his novitiate and will make his first profession of vows at the 10:15 Mass on August 14. Then cleric Michael Neeland will be ordained a deacon by Bishop Sklba at the 10:15 Mass on September 4. I hope you are as pleased as I am that they have chosen to make their commitments in front of our community. Simon appreciates all the prayers offered for him by our community when his life was hanging by a thread, and Michael will do his deacon year here at Pius.
We continue learning from Luke’s Gospel what it means to be a disciple as we journey with Jesus to Jerusalem. Our theme this week is hospitality. In our first reading, three strangers come upon Abraham. Notice the extremes of hospitality that he exhibits: bow to the ground, wash feet, fine flour, best steer, etc. And Abraham made them feel comfortable by presenting it as if they were doing him the favor, allowing him to be hospitable. As a result of his hospitality, his barren wife has a child and the descendants of Abraham are started.
In the Gospel story of Martha and Mary, we learn that hospitality is more than simply presenting food and drink to visitors: we also must be present and sensitive to them, as Abraham was in helping his guests to feel like they were doing HIM a favor.
If we want to walk as disciples of Jesus, we must keep these readings in mind as we figure out how to approach the refugees and immigrants that are all over the world. They are the stranger among us. We have an obligation to them. Safety and security are important values, but the Gospel mandate of welcoming the stranger also needs to be honored. And the last thing we can do is dismiss people by vilifying them.
Our readings invite us this week to reflect on our attitudes towards the strangers among us and how we can grow in the Gospel mandate of hospitality: welcoming the stranger.
--Paul James Portland, SDS
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