Welcoming One and All
As we move towards our holiday celebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas, today’s Gospel selection from St. Luke offers a different “take” on the Christian concept of hospitality. Jesus’ words to the Pharisee challenged both the Pharisee…and ourselves, centuries later!
Jesus had been invited to dine at the home of a leading Pharisee, and Jesus made it a teachable moment. Hosting a lunch or dinner? Invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind…rather than relatives or friends. Why? To be generous to others without the possibility of repayment / being invited in return. A lesson in the spirit of Jesus’ unconditional love!
We 21st disciples of Jesus are encouraged to take Jesus’ words to heart. He came not to be served but to serve…associating with and reaching out to the poor and the lowly – the least, the last, the lost. Jesus challenges us to go beyond dinners and parties and association with those closest to us; we’re invited to reach out and share life with our needy brothers and sisters.
As the pace of our holidays increases, Jesus challenges us to pause, to look around, and then respond in love to those in need of help and encouragement. Perhaps a meal for them is possible; more likely we can offer a genuine smile and a kind word to those we meet on the sidewalk or while shopping. Indeed, our hearts will very likely be filled with the true spirit of the Season as we follow Jesus’ encouragement and reach out…a blessing indeed!
As St. Paul so aptly stated at the conclusion of today’s reading from Romans: “To God be glory forever!”
And we each can add our faith-filled: Amen!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the Vocation Director for Holy Cross Province. He lives at St. Vincent Strambi Community in Chicago, Illinois.