Hospitality

The first reading today from the Letter to the Hebrews carries an oft quoted verse: “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.” (Hebrews 13:2) All cultures have their own sense and operation of hospitality. I think most of us grew up is homes wherein hospitality was rarely taught but always on display. So, it is an interesting experience to live in a culture where the dynamics of hospitality are different. Such was my experience while living in Kenya.

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Martha and Mary

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 16th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

38 As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. 39 She had a sister named Mary (who) sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 40 Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” 41 The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 42 There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10:38-42)

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Strangers here?

During the last several months, there have been lots of visitors celebrating Eucharist with us. They come from points north where winter has been unrelenting and particularly harsh this year. They are easy to spot. While we have all donned our sweaters and jackets, they are in shorts, polos, and flip-flops. Many of them introduce themselves to me after Mass and comment on what a beautiful church and how welcoming we are as a parish. They tell me of the great experience of parishioners greeting them, chatting with them, and making them feel welcomed. One couple remarked “There are just no strangers in your parish!” As pastor, it affirms that we are what we profess in a tangible way. We live in a way that impacts the visitors among us. Thank you! Continue reading

How Will You Belong? The Stranger at Our Doors

Welcome-StrangersI have often mused about the connections of being a welcoming community and hospitality. As part of that musing, I wondered about the distinction between entertaining and hospitality, surmising that it perhaps depends on your role model and the source of your ideas about hospitality. If the model is from Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, and Southern Living Magazine – then perhaps “entertaining” is a better description. As a church of believing Christians, it would be best to look to Jesus for models of hospitality. Continue reading

How Will You Belong? The Stranger at Our Doors

Welcome-StrangersLast week in this column I mused about the connections of being a welcoming community and hospitality. As part of that musing, I wondered about the distinction between entertaining and hospitality, surmising that it perhaps depends on your role model and the source of your ideas about hospitality. If the model is from Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, and Southern Living Magazine – then perhaps “entertaining” is a better description. As a church of believing Christians, it would be best to look to Jesus for models of hospitality. Continue reading

How Will You Belong? Hospitality

TheAnnunciationI most often hear our parish described as a “welcoming community – you all are so hospitable.” Certainly that is a good thing, but it does get me musing about things. Do we all mean the same thing when we speak about hospitality? “Hospitality” for several of our parishioners is a specialty branch of civil law. Hospitality law covers topics such as the impact of federal and state civil rights laws on the hospitality industry, contract law, including discussions of remedies for overbooking and a guest’s breach of the contract regarding a reservation, negligence, risk management, innkeeper rights, guest rights, and employment practices – and that is just dipping a big toe in the waters of hospitality law. Continue reading

Practiced Hospitality

Christian-HospitalitySeveral weeks ago we announced that we would try an experiment – Nametag Sunday. It is a pilot project that has arisen out of an ongoing conversation around what it means to be a committed parish of the faithful. Among all the studies and from surveys of Catholics across this nation – one thing that is clear: a parish must be welcoming. Continue reading