3 John 5-8
It is not often that a private one page letter from the first century AD is preserved and recognized as inspired and worthy to be in our New Testament. Such is this letter to the unknown Gaius who is addressed as "beloved". The author is "the elder". "Elder" is the official title for person who has charge of a local church.
The more things change maybe they are the same for the question is hospitality and support for wandering missionaries. In this sense they are "strangers" to Gaius and will only stay for a time before they resume their missionary journey which they have undertaken "for the sake of the Name". They are freely announcing Jesus to the pagans and should be financially supported by the Christian community. Aren’t we still doing this today as we support the Propagation of the Faith on World Mission Sunday? In this way aren’t we, as Gaius was, "co-workers in the truth". But the challenge is deeper than financial support for evangelization. Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium (#20) puts it this way: "Each Christian and every community mist discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the "peripheries" in need of the light of the gospel". And so this simple letter opens the challenge of our own missionary call to spread the gospel in every time and place.
Fr. Michael Hoolahan, C.P. is on the staff of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.