thoughts and observations on the daily readings
Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Readings may be found here
Hospitality is a gift. When offered freely and fully it blesses the guest and the host. Welcoming one another binds friends and family, lightens the burdens of life, encourages joy and creativity, and consoles those who feel lonely or bereft. During this time of pandemic, the loss of everyday hospitality has been painful for all of us. We all miss those family dinners, Sunday afternoons at the beach or a BBQ, and sharing a drink without the use of facetime or zoom.
Hospitality is a universal value in every age and in every culture. It seems to flow from somewhere deep in our humanity and it is a beautiful thing. Early Christians found great blessings in hospitality. In a time when travel was dangerous and difficult, the mission could only go on with the help of those who would open their homes for refuge, worship, and to support evangelists like Paul. And along the way, we learned that the exercise of hospitality was itself a kind of mission and preaching – one that built up the Church and strengthened her bonds of communion. We have a beautiful example today in Lydia. The baptismal water was not yet dry and she was already inviting the evangelizers into her home!
And Lydia is an early pioneer of a long chain of hospitable disciples. From those early days flowed the hospitality of the monastic movement and the Christian commitment to the housing of the traveler, the refugee, the homeless. It’s the same instinct of joyful generosity that staffs the soup kitchens and works in this pandemic to get supplies to the homebound and unemployed.
Even if we must still wait for those Sunday dinners with family and friends, we can still exercise that gift of hospitality today. There’s a neighbor who could use some human warmth, a parish social ministry that needs volunteers, a program for the homeless or hungry in need of resources. Hospitality is a gift: “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.” (Hebrews 13:2)