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July 17, 2016
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Often during the summer months when we travel we encounter people who offer us hospitality, whether they be family, friends, or even strangers. The concept of hospitality has had various connotations over the centuries. In the 6th. century Saint Benedict wrote in his rule that has monks should receive the stranger as Christ himself. The abbeys were havens for the lonesome traveler. For centuries, men and women have dedicated their lives as religious Brothers and Sisters to welcoming the stranger and the suffering in their hospitals, which were center of charity, real “guest houses”. Now it is different. Though there are still a few sporadic “hospices” run by sisters and Christian denominations still operate hospitals that bear their name, as a rule the stranger checks in at a motel and the sick person is taken care of in the community hospital, both paying for the service they receive.
Hospitality is still a Christian form of charity. A visit of friends can still be an enriching experience for both the guests and the host and hostess, provided that there is mutual openness, real hospitality. In Today’s Gospel Martha and Mary were hospitable toward our Lord-each in her own way. Martha was “burdened with much serving” in doing household tasks. Mary listened to Jesus’ words. Both aspects of hospitality are important. But openness to the guest as a person, in this case to our Lord’s message of salvation is more important. When we receive Christ in other human beings, we should have an open eye for this mystery. Whenever I experience goodness, God is present.
Fr. Jonas Tandayu, MSC-Pastor