Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘hospitality’


Sirach 30:14-25: Health of Body and Soul

Saturday, November 23, 2019

There are so many ways to be joyful, and the list which Jesus Ben Sirach imparts to us today is worthy of our time.  I like the way the writer juxtaposes bitterness with joy, cheerfulness with brooding, courage with resentment, good health with a wasted frame.  Verse 20 is particularly interesting as we may know people who are determined to be sad.  Verse 25 is also fun – especially when we look ahead at 31:12-31 and 32:1-13, table etiquette.

Cheerful hospitality is a hallmark of Gospel living.  Offering of hearth and family are a sign of our willingness to be open and vulnerable to God through those whom he sends to enter our homes and our sacred places of the heart.  For the hearth of the family and the heart of the individual – these are the places where God dwells, where the Holy Spirit abides . . . and it is for this reason that we must seek composure of the heart.

Contentment of spirit, writes Sirach, better this than precious coral.

God wants us to be happy and to revel in our happiness.  God wishes us well, urges us to live cheerfully, to let him take on our worries and anxieties.  Through discipline, through doing well and doing right, through acting with mercy and justice . . . this is how we reach true contentment, true softening . . . and composure of the heart. 

The words of Sirach remind us well of this.


Written on January 23, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://moochuk.com/index.php?showimage=328

Read Full Post »


Tobit 11Homeward Journey

Friday, November 16, 2018

I love this story and I can never read it enough for it is the tale of healing, fidelity, and joy.  It is a story with an ending we all wish for ourselves and our loved ones.  It is even a story we might wish for our enemies.

Commentary tells us that this story harbingers the miracles of the New Testament and even prepares us for miracles in our own lives.  In this homeward journey, everyone is happy with their new in-laws, cataracts are removed, a family rejoices.  The reader senses that all the characters will live happily ever after, and so pushes on toward the end of the tale in delicious anticipation of the revelation of the angel Raphael’s identity.  This is the ideal ending to a perfect bed-time story.  The loyal but harried young couple meets, overcomes odds, weds and returns home.  Goodness comes out of evil and illness – even in exile.  Our journey home has its reward.

Today’s first reading at Mass is from Hebrews 13:1-8 and it reminds us that we never know when the stranger beside us may be an angel: Let brotherly love continue.  Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.  Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you are also in the body.  Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled . . . Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never forsake or abandon you’.  Thus we may say with confidence: ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid.  What can anyone do to me?’  Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

When we feel as though the journey behind us has been too arduous, or the journey before us will be too difficult . . . let us remember how Tobias and Sarah overcame fear to journey home.

When it seems that the present leg of our journey offers no hope and little comfort . . . let us remember that healing angels accompany us in the guise of fellow travelers.

When we find ourselves distracted in our journey by the many tempting way stations . . . let us remember that Holy Spirit accompanies us, the Father calls us, and Jesus Christ heals us.

Let us remember . . . and let us rejoice as we join one another in the journey homeward.


A re-post from October 14, 2011.

Image from: http://namakparay.blogspot.com/2010_06_01_archive.html

Read Full Post »


3 JohnCo-Workers in the Truth

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The author of this brief letter is believed to be the Apostle John and it gives us a window on the world of the early church with its factions and arguments.  We see the interwoven themes of hospitality, truth, and love . . . three concepts we might spend time with today.

In the jumble of names we might finally work out that the leader Diotrephes has stepped outside of the Johannine tradition by refusing hospitality to some of John’s disciples.  This action would be counter to the kind of behavior Jesus nurtured among his own apostles, and counter to the traditions of the early church.  “Itinerant Christian preachers were dependent upon the hospitality of Christians among whom they ministered.  This built up networks between the scattered churches and fostered a sense of solidarity.  The local churches saw themselves as belonging to the one church, united around the foundational truth of the Gospel”. (ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE 2035) In this ancient culture, hospitality was essential.  Travel by foot through arid and sometimes hostile regions required open homes and welcoming brothers and sisters at journey’s end.  Generosity with one’s goods and time was essential for survival in this environment.  Fear of false teachers was and is a legitimate concern, but we know from this short letter that the rejected missionaries had been sent by John himself so certainly there was no reason for alarm.  As John writes: We ought to support such persons, so that we might be co-workers in the truth.  John appeals to those who want to withdraw into a purist sect and he points out that separatism is counter to Jesus’ universal call to unity.  Jesus’ truth-followers seek union with others – not separation or elitism.  John urges his fellow Christians to support his faithful ministers so that they might be seen as messengers of Christ’s word rather than ordinary pagan beggars who lived off the goodness of others with little or no contribution to society.

In today’s Noontime we hear an echo of John’s assertion in his first letter that what the apostles have seen with their eyes, heard with their ears and touched with their hands can be believed.  Jesus was among them . . . he died . . . he rose again and is with them still.  This is a truth that cannot be denied and it is an absolute demonstration of Jesus’ love for humanity.  John tells us that we in turn must demonstrate our belief in this reality by offering open arms and welcoming hearts to fellow co-workers in this truth.

When we read this letter carefully, we see the elements of a prudent and wise method of confronting the obstinate, self-centered rejection of goodness: Send an opening greeting with an offer of dialog, recommend continued conversation, delineate the points of argument, and center all decisions on Gospel thinking of unity through variety.  In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul expresses clearly how Christ creates the union of diverse parts: There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.  To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.  We are reminded by both John and Paul that not one of us has sole possession of truth . . . yet Christ’s truth lives in the gathering up of all who believe and act in him.

When we open our hearts and homes for Christ to act through us, we become the co-workers John speaks of today, we become seekers of Christ’s truth rather than our own.  We become co-workers in the only truth that matters.   This we can believe.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 2035. Print.


We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on July 23, 2011.

Read Full Post »


Sirach 32: 1 -13At the Table

Tuesday, August 23, 2016heavenly banquet

I continue to love the words of this writer – they are so to the point and true!  Knowing that the table where meals are shared is an important part of both ancient and modern life, the images here of people sharing food are as apt today as they were when they were written.  Food, one of the most basic of life’s necessities, is such an essential part of living that we put down our animosities regarding one another in order to bring in the harvest, and to share space and time in one another’s company.  Today’s Noontime gives us the opportunity to reflect on the most sacred of all meals – the Eucharist.  What a great and wonderful gift is this that Christ comes to us to share his physical presence with us and to sustain us in our journey here on earth.  Jesus Ben Sirach tells us how we are to come to the table, how we are to behave, what we might expect.

Take care of guests before sitting down yourself . . .

Temper your wisdom when you speak, do not be too puffed up and self-important . . .

Be aware of how much wine you are drinking and its effects upon you . . .

Be brief and be concise when speaking; observe and listen more than you speak . . .

Leave when it is time to go being certain to not out-stay your welcome . . .

As I reflect on all of this I realize that this is how we ought to come to every gathering.  We need to take ourselves seriously – but not overly so.  We need to enjoy ourselves – but not overly so.  We need to recognize ourselves in one other without losing our own identity.  We must remember always that just as we are temples of the living God, so is everyone else around the table.

communionEarly humans must have always been on the hunt for food; mealtimes where memories, songs, jokes and profound ideas might be shared were surely a luxury.  How blessed are we to have the gift of leisure that we can spend an hour or two each day with family, friends and colleagues to bare our souls, share concerns, to laugh, to question, even to cry, as we share a meal.  How blessed are we to have a God who wishes to share a banquet with us daily as he delivers the gift of himself for us to use as we will.

I have always cherished the time spent at the table with those I love.  What is more difficult is to sit at the table with those who have announced that they are our enemies and yet when we truly believe that Christ is present when we come together, what is there to fear?  If we can come together to celebrate the Eucharist – the gift of Christ himself to us – then let us also come together in amity to journey through our days together helping, abiding, remaining in Christ before all else.  When Christ is seated at the table, no weapons or defense or offense are needed.  We only need bring ourselves and our own humble gifts.

A Favorite from August 25, 2009.

Read Full Post »


Revelation 2 & 3: Our Story – Part IV, The Knocking at the Doorjesus knocking

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

For the last few days we have reflected on the story of our lives from its inception to its end. Today we explore the thoughts and dreams and hopes revealed in the unfolding of our lives.

I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. 

Several years ago our parish scripture study group spent a number of weeks studying this last book of the New Testament.  It is so full of symbols and allegory that even reading a commentary may not be enough to unravel all that is held within.  These opening chapters depict Christ knocking at the doors of the seven established congregations; and they also tell us how people respond to Christ’s call.  Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, each community has its personal traits that characterize and individualize them, and if we look at ourselves and examine scripture we will be able to discovery in which place we live. Then we can spend time reflecting on what we do when we hear the knock at our own door.  Do we hear it?  Do we open the door?  Are we prepared to dine with the one on the other side of the door?  Are we willing to open ourselves to newness?

Most of us, when we expect guests, will clean the house, prepare food and drink, fluff pillows and put away stray family articles.  We want to extend hospitality to those who knock at the door.  Many of us feel as though the closets must all be straight and the dishwasher cleared.  Many of us leave personal items in the rooms we will share with our guests, not thinking that they need to be cleared away, and we will leave the dishwasher as it is.  All of us are somewhere on the spectrum of wanting to prepare for the expected guests; but what do we feel and do about those who are unexpected?  Are we comfortable with the way that we live?  Do we believe that we must make special preparations before we open the door to ourselves?

Christ knows our inmost secrets, so we hide nothing from him.

The Father knows our origins and our endings, so we hide nothing from him.

The Spirit knows our deepest needs and desires, so we hide nothing from her.

Today, as we read about the different churches of God and how they live out the message they believe they have heard, let us reconsider what we do when we see a friend or a stranger approaching our door.  Let us consider that there is nothing we can hide or put away that God does not already see and know.  And let us consider that it is the open mind that receives new insight from God, it is the open heart that is made new in Christ, and it is open arms that receive the peace and serenity of the Spirit that is God’s gift to each of us.

When the knocking comes to our own door today – as it comes to us each day – do we hear the voice?  Do we open ourselves freely?  Do we dine with the Lord willingly?  And do we allow God’s transformation to take place in us happily?

A Favorite written on  July 19, 2010.

To read more about the seven churches, click on the names of the seven cities above to see where they are located and what traits they characterize in our own story. 

Read Full Post »


Friday. August 23, 2013

peace-it-does-not-mean-to-be-in-a-place-where-there-is-no-noise-trouble-or-hard-work[1]Mark 8:34-38

The Forfeited Life

He called the people and his disciples to him and said, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.  Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.  What gain, then, is it for anyone to win the whole world and forfeit his life?  And indeed what can a man offer for his life?  For if anyone in this adulterous and sinful generation is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels”.

Discipleship, inversion, angels, and trust in God: these are the themes we have visited this week.  Today Mark reminds us that in order to follow Christ we must look for goodness in reversals; we must welcome God’s message and the messengers themselves for they bring us God’s presence.  And we must rely on God for all that we are and all that we have, for God accompanies us always and everywhere.

God says: I know that I am most visible to you when you are ill, frightened or broken-hearted.  I understand this for I created you and I created the world, and I understand the hold that the world can have on you.  I know that you welcome me when I come to you in a version of myself that matches your expectation and that I startle you when I arrive in a way that makes you uncomfortable.  I understand your reluctance to open your arms to me for I created you and I created the world. I understand that you rely more on your senses than you do on me.  Yet still I ask that follow me for I created you and I created the world.  I rejoice each morning with you when you turn to me in prayer.  I sing with you at noon when you remember me and call my name.  I celebrate with you each evening when you return to me in thanksgiving . . . for I created you and I created the world.  And I ask that you forfeit all for me so that you might know my peace . . . the peace that the world cannot give.  

Discipleship is hard-earned and well-worn.  Inversion can be anticipated and yet still surprising.  God’s angels are constantly with us yet they frequently go unseen.  Trust in God brings a new way of life and a guarantee of eternal peace.  Let us thank God for the grace and blessings bestowed on us this day and all days.

For more Words of Wisdom, click on the image above or go to: http://alifetimeofwisdom.com/new-perspectives/what-peace-really-means/

Read Full Post »


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Angels_Unawares-Heb13-2[1]Hebrews 13:2

Unknowingly

Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. 

We love these stories of God’s messengers, these special beings who come to us to share important information . . . if we only have ears to listen.  If only we pause.  If only we look.

God says: So often my messengers return to me and say, “There was so much going on in his head that he just could not hear my voice”.  And I reply, “Go again.  He will hear you when he is ready.  He still has nimble explanations for his circumstances.  We cannot give up on him.  We must persist”.  Sometimes my angels return to tell me, “She is too disbelieving.  I stood before her and she walked right past me.  I spoke, but she did not give me the least bit of time”.  Again I reply, “Go again. She will hear you one of these days.  She has not yet come to the end of her hope. We cannot give up on her.  We must persist”.  These reports are painful for us but still we persevere.  More often my angels tell me, “She was so grateful for your word!  She hung on every nuance and asked good questions”. Or they return to say, “He was desperate for your word. I had to repeat the information several times until he began to understand”.  These are the reports that are easiest to hear and that bring us most joy.  Yet, we endure with those in difficult circumstance because every lamb is important to me.  No matter how lost.  No matter how closed in.  No matter how unbelieving. 

AngelsEarth[1]We are so pressed for time, so un-used to believing, so immune to good acts and decent works that we unknowingly reject or pass by the very help that we seek.  It is never too late to believe.  It is never too late to apologize.  It is never too late to change.  God holds all the words we ever need.  And God often sends these words to us on the swift wings of angels.  Let us not miss them.

Enter the word angel in the blog search bar and explore other reflections.

Use a Bible Concordance to examine the number of times in Scripture that angels deliver messages in the stories we so often hear.  Note how often these angels are received, and how often they bring help, healing and hope.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: