God's Word today invites us to reflect on hospitality, and more particularly, on how we welcome God's presence in our lives.
Today's first reading introduces us to a woman who welcomes the prophet Elisha first for a meal, and eventually creates a space in her home for him. The occasional guest becomes a part of the family. The result of this hospitality is a blessing on the entire household: the gift of a long-desired son. Hospitality should be life-giving, both for those who offer it and for those who receive it.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel today that those who welcome the ones he sends will have their reward. It doesn’t have to be big or splashy: "whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones"! Later, Jesus makes this welcome to those in need the criterion of our salvation: "For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; thirsty, and you gave me to drink; naked and you clothed me; homeless, and you sheltered me; sick or in prison, and you came to visit me. Whenever you did it for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me."
Jesus challenges us to extend our kindness and concern beyond the boundaries of our natural circle of family and friends. Charity may begin at home, but it certainly should not end there! To welcome Jesus and his Gospel is a constant invitation to go beyond our limits, to break down the walls which separate us.
This year, many of our usual ways of offering and receiving hospitality are either unavailable, or significantly restricted. At this very time, a committee is hard at work determining how best we can gradually welcome people back into our church, safely and securely. We look forward to that day, just as we look forward to receiving our own families, our friends, those with whom we share values, fellowship, and faith, as well as good food!
This weekend, we welcome back Fr. Lloyd Baugh S.J., who will be presiding and preaching at our Sunday Mass! Welcome, Fr. Lloyd, and thank you for your faithful service! Please join us here for Mass this Sunday. We will also be keeping you posted once we have determined when we can safely reopen the church for worship, and what procedures will be followed to ensure a smooth and prayerful experience for all who participate, whether in church or following online.
As we enter these summer months, let us take seriously the Gospel call to become a truly welcoming people. Let us make room for others not just in our homes and around our tables, but in our lives, our minds and our hearts.