Reading and meditation on the Word of God, Saturday of the 12th week in ordinary time
June 26, 2021
Reading is delivered by Sr Maria Yolenta, SND from general house of SND Congregation in Rome, Italy and meditation delivered by Father Peter Tukan, SDB from SDB Social Communication ministry in Jakarta, Indonesia
The reading is taken from the book of Genesis
The LORD appeared to Abraham by the Terebinth of Mamre,
as Abraham sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot.
Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
“Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way.”
The men replied, “Very well, do as you have said.”
Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
“Quick, three measures of fine flour!
Knead it and make rolls.”
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before them;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.
They asked him, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He replied, “There in the tent.”
One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son.”
Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, just behind him.
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years,
and Sarah had stopped having her womanly periods.
So Sarah laughed to herself and said,
“Now that I am so withered and my husband is so old,
am I still to have sexual pleasure?”
But the LORD said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say,
‘Shall I really bear a child, old as I am?’
Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do?
At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you,
and Sarah will have a son.”
Because she was afraid, Sarah dissembled, saying, “I didn’t laugh.”
But he replied, “Yes you did.”
The Word of the Lord.
The theme for our meditation today is: The Price of Hospitality. Hospitality is part of politeness which deals more with welcoming and serving friends, acquaintances or guests who come to us. They experience a warm welcome and know that they are truly appreciated. Many stories in the scriptures show people visiting each other and hospitality has been always a virtue that is so significant.
A friendly welcome does not depend on who the guests are, whether they are important people, rich and smart, or ordinary people, poor and uneducated. This disposition to welcome is very dependent on the willingness and goodwill of the host. Abraham considered that the reception of unknown strangers was a blessing. He invited them in and prepared the best meal for them. Likewise Jesus welcomed the Centurion or an unbeliever public official. He made the stranger feel honored and to believe in the goodness of God.
Hospitality that is offered in kindness and goodness bears fruit in love. Those who are welcomed and served acquire a participation in the life of the one who welcomes and friendship grows strong. Moreover, there is the reward that comes from God as something beyond expectation. God had bestowed His grace by giving offspring for Abraham and Sarah, a child so blessed by God. The healing of the officer’s servant was a real blessing received and then the fruit was so evident, that the faith grew from that unbeliever Centurion.
There was once a meeting at the parish office for the formation of a committee in order to welcome a number of guests from theology students who were accompanied by some religious men and women. They came to that parish to do some practical experience on how to manage a parish. The meeting was in sort of tension because some members of the parish council raised a number of objections over the various difficulties in welcoming the guests. It was the parish priest’s turn to respond to this issue, and he said: “If hospitality is accompanied by complaints, objections or half-hearted willing to welcome, it is better not to welcome them. It’s better to just cancel the plan. If this plan to be implemented, hospitality loses its value. There will be never a warm hospitality, but it will be a bitter welcoming.”
It is all true that hospitality should not be accompanied with complaints, objections or half-heartedness. Let it be expressed in good will and in the spirit of love just like the water flows in an unclogged drains.
Let’s pray. In the name of the Father… O Lord Jesus Christ, You teach us to welcome and serve our guests in the spirit of love. Enrich us with the disposition of friendliness and generosity, so that we can share Your love wholeheartedly. Our Father… In the name of the Father…