Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

As usual, I think we will be able to listen most deeply and understand well the Scripture lessons of today if we remind ourselves of the context, especially of the Gospel lesson. A couple of weeks ago, you may remember, there was the story of Martha and Mary and Jesus coming to be with them. We learned from that what it means to be a true disciple. Mary was the one of whom Jesus said, “She is really being a disciple because she is listening,” and a disciple is someone who listens and follows Jesus.

Then last Sunday, Jesus talked about one of the ways that are important in trying to follow Jesus, and that is the whole idea of hospitality. In fact, the first lesson last week was Abraham and Sarah showing extraordinary hospitality to some strangers that just happened to come by and needed a place to rest and be refreshed and fed and so on.

Then Jesus told the parable, or the story, last Sunday about the person who suddenly had visitors and found out they did not have enough in their home to feed and take care of the visitors, so this person goes to a neighbor and keeps on persisting until the neighbor who says at first, “Look, everybody in this place is asleep. Don’t bother us.” But the one who was in need doesn’t stop, and finally we hear Jesus say, “This person will obviously get up and give what is necessary to take care of the visitors, to be hospitable, because otherwise the person would bring shame on himself and on the whole village.” … It’s so important, Jesus is saying, to be hospitable, to welcome strangers, to draw people in, to share with them.

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