THE MINISTRY OF HOSPITALITY–caring and welcoming! As Catholics, we have been challenged by the Lord to love our enemies (Mt 5:44). So, if we are called to love our enemies, certainly we are expected to love those who sit next to us in church.
Hospitality is manifested in an open and welcoming spirit; a willingness to drop what we are doing and receive the other person when they need us. We are reminded of Abraham’s hospitality to the three strangers (Gen 18:1-10). In welcoming the strangers, he was welcoming God.
We recall Jesus’ words: “what you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do to me” (Mt 25:40). And then Christ gave us the exquisite example of hospitality at the last supper when he got down and washed the disciples’ feet (Jn 13:3-17). And he commanded us, who would claim to be his followers, to do likewise.
St. Benedict wrote rules for living a Catholic life. These rules are still practiced by most monastic communities today. Rule #53 states, “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” (Mt 25:35).
HOSPITALITY is about being attentive to others; recognizing and welcoming the newcomer or the stranger; HOSPITALITY is being PRESENT to others; it is being PRESENT at parish events, participating with a spirit of “eager expectation!” Hospitality is taking the time to CARE! HOSPITALITY IS ENJOYING ONE ANOTHER, IT IS BEING AT HOME IN THIS PLACE WITH THESE PEOPLE!