Monday of the Third Week of Lent
2 Kings 5:1-15ab
For many of us Jesus is not welcome any more today than He was in his hometown so many years ago. The New Testament word for welcome is dĕktŏs which means receive or accept. There is an amazing array of variations on this word for welcome in the original Greek Bible. For example: "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."Lk 15:2 Here the word is pros-dechomai i.e. to welcome with an attitude of accepting favorably or receive to oneself, looking forward to accepting someone. "Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, welcoming the consolation of Israel" Lk 2:25
Another variation on welcome is upo- dechomai which means you are welcome under my roof i.e. in my home. So Zacchaeus hurried and came down and welcomed Jesus joyfully Lk 19:6 Still another use is word ap-ek-dechomai which is assiduously and patiently waiting to welcome: "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we are waiting to welcome a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ", Phi 3:20
Another variation of the Greek word for welcome is apo dechomai. This consists of apo, "from," intensive, and expresses dechomai more strongly, signifying "to receive heartily, to welcome," "When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and Jesus welcomed them" Lk 9:11
Our life is a study of how to welcome Jesus. Our hearts should always be open to His presence. We should passionately desire His stunning company. With joy we welcome Christ to our very selves. "I possess at all times and I hold in all places, the God of my heart and the Heart of my God." St Margaret Mary
And St Paul of the Cross tells us: "Remember that it is a truth of the holy faith that God is nearer to us than we are to ourselves: He is much nearer to us than the skin is on our flesh" Letter 111 367 Let us keep the welcome sign for Christ before our hearts!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.