Hospitality

If anyone had a right to be left alone it was Jesus. His cousin John the Baptist had been killed and Jesus was in King Herod’s sights. In addition, Jesus had gone away with his disciples so that they could be left alone for a while. Yet despite having his privacy invaded Jesus was hospitable to the people who came to him. He taught them at length because they had been neglected by their own religious leaders. He then spent time healing those of their number who needed it. Finally, he would not send them away but fed them himself. The actions Jesus did when he took, blessed, broke and distributed the loaves and fishes to the people all speak of God’s hospitality to us.

St Paul’s account of the Last Supper in our Second Reading is the oldest account of this moment. It is even older than the Gospels themselves. The theme of hospitality is again reinforced as Jesus breaks bread and drinks wine with those who would ultimately desert, deny and betray him.  The word Covenant means God’s commitment to his people no matter what.

The message from both readings is that we matter to Christ. It is Christ who draws to gather for the Eucharist on a Sunday to teach us through the Liturgy of the Word, heal of what is broken in our lives and nourish us with his Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Today people want a Church made up of friendship, of genuine contacts and of mutual support. This is only possible when we strive to show the same kind of hospitality to others that God gives to us.