We are all on a Journey.
“Make Hospitality your special care”, says St. Paul in a letter to one of his Christian communities. (Rom.12:13) Hospitality is a quality engraved into the hearts of many peoples. It used to be so in Ireland, but what about today? There is much hearsay evidence that it may be disappearing. Maybe when people become more wealthy, more self-sufficient they have less room, less “heart space” to offer others?
Why does St. Paul single out hospitality? Because it’s a sign of love that doesn’t exclude. Because, also, it’s a sign of faith that God dwells in each one, whatever their race, culture, ethnic group, religion, social status. Because the stranger reminds us that that we are all “on the journey”, none of us here for ever.
“The New Testament often counsels that hospitality is a virtue necessary for all followers of Jesus. Many migrants, sensing rejection or indifference from Catholic communities, have sought solace outside the Church. They experience the sad fate of Jesus, recorded in St. John’s Gospel: “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him” (Jn 1:11). The need to provide hospitality and create a sense of belonging pertains to the Church on every level, as Pope John Paul II said in his annual message on World Migration Day 1993: “The families of migrants . . . should be able to find a homeland everywhere in the Church.” (Except from a Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States)
Reflection prepared by Carol Dorgan