Grace to you!
First impression a person gets when he or she enters a home, a church or an organization is crucial. They say “first impression matters.”
Sometimes, in parishes, there are those at the parish office front desk who are so pleasant we want to belong to that parish. We want to come again. Other times, we have those who look like they got up from the wrong side of the bed. They drive people away from church. They aren’t good faces for a parish or organization.
Hospitality is the real first impression, the first access to any person or organization. An aspect of the virtue of charity, hospitality makes love’s warmth practical. It could come through kind words, genuine smiles, a warm handshake, going the extra mile to help someone in need of information, direction or other needs which we can provide, though it isn’t part of our job description. These are simple practices of hospitality.
Hospitality is one of those gestures, works of mercy, which edify right away. Hardly are they seen unless they are exercised. They do not come so easy, yet they have a huge positive impact on persons, families and organizations.
When people complain they didn’t feel welcome in church or in an organization, often it’s simply because those in charge, or even volunteers of the organization, weren’t hospitable.
A no is sometimes unavoidable. No isn’t a pleasant experience either. But how a no was said could make a difference. It is the how the no was said that shows hospitality or no hospitality.
Scripture reminds us, in addition to our worship, and sacrifices for the Lord, we consider hospitality too. While the Letter to the Hebrews, which has been the center of our reflection for the past two weeks, calls us to true love and worship of Christ, it also reminds us here that true love and faith in Christ, the author of our faith, also entails love for one another. Hospitality is a crucial aspect of love for one another.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body” (Heb 13:1-4).
Hospitality to prisoners, to visitors, to strangers, to immigrants and to those in need, is a great testimony of true love.
May God give us the grace to maximize the opportunities of the practice of hospitality. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.