by Sister Jane Riha
The readings from the Book of Genesis and from the Gospel of Luke present two beautiful models of hospitality. These readings are filled with gestures and words of welcome and presence to others from which we can learn many lessons. Abraham, Sarah and their servants welcome three strangers. The description easily conveys graciousness, courtesy and respect. A meal is prepared, feet are washed, and obviously meaningful conversation. These are special persons sent by God with a prophetic message. What is noteworthy is the generosity of Abraham.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is visiting the home of friends. A meal is being prepared with various persons participating in the hospitality. While Martha prepares the meal, Mary is conversing with Jesus.
What are some important qualities of hospitality to be integrated into our modern way of life? Hospitality includes the qualities of personal presence, valuing and respecting persons whether friends, family or strangers, listening to others, and having persons feel comfortable. Hospitality often includes a meal. The meal can remind us that we are people of the Eucharist called to love one another.
Some challenges which interfere with our capability to be hospitable are the various technological devices which often are visible when people gather for a meal, a casual party or just conversation. Have you experienced phones on the table along with the food?
Take time to focus on your personal qualities of hospitality. Hospitality includes courtesy but it flows from the heart. Being an hospitable person is being a loving person.