Hospitality is a wonderful virtue. It’s defined as “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” It’s a beautiful example of love. St. Pope John Paul II wrote: “welcoming our brothers and sisters with care and willingness must not be limited to extraordinary occasions but must become for all believers a habit of service in their daily lives.”
We recently read how Abraham welcomed three strangers and begged them to stay, offering them water to bathe their tired feet, followed by delicious warm bread and a choice tender calf for dinner. It turns out the three strangers were messengers from God who prophesied that the barren Sarah would have a baby. Abraham later became known as the father of many nations. (Gen. 18:1-10) Hospitality brings about good things.
Martha, Mary and Lazarus offered hospitality to Jesus and his disciples during the years of the Lord’s public ministry. They were friends and enjoyed meals together. Jesus grew close to them and wept at the death of his friend Lazarus, who he later “raised from the dead.” (John 11:38) This great family showed hospitality to Jesus and his disciples and were blessed with the son of God showering them with his love and affection. Hospitality really brings about great things.
A recent study conducted by Cambridge University showed “that Scottish people are the most friendly, agreeable and cooperative people in the UK … incredibly hospitable people”. I can verify that conclusion. Recently we visited friends in Scotland. We were treated like royalty. Our every need was anticipated and we experienced a little piece of heaven. We were refreshed after our visit both in body and soul. Hospitality does bring about great things.
Some 40 years ago, a group of families built homes on the same street. Part of the vision was that hospitality would be a foundation of their life together. They would consider themselves “stewards” of the homes, and would use them for the Lord’s purposes….. opening their homes to visitors from around the world, hosting retreats and meetings, and frequent meals with friends, while also raising their families. The blessings experienced by the host families far outweighed the hospitality shown. Hospitality really does bring about great things.
It’s great to give and to receive hospitality…. it’s a sharing in the love of Christ. It’s a beautiful way to evangelize those who may not have experienced the love of the Lord. And without knowing it, you may be welcoming visitors from heaven or at least visitors who may one day be in heaven. And that is very good news.