July 18, 2010 — Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Stewardship includes sharing with others the gifts God has entrusted to us, the U.S. bishops remind us in Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response. In response to what God has shared with us, we in turn share with those around us, both old familiar friends and neighbors and with those new to us. God invites all people into his Church, the People of God. As his disciples, we ought to follow his example and carry out his will – thus we have the responsibility to welcome all people into the fellowship of the Church.
We find two examples of hospitality dramatically displayed in the readings from Genesis and Luke. In Genesis, God appears to Abraham, who invites the Lord to be his guest for dinner; and in the reading from Luke, Jesus comes to dine at the home of Mary and Martha. While other valuable lessons can be derived from these readings, the theme of hospitality is what brings them together.
The hospitality we see is not a grudging sharing of what is left over. Instead, both Abraham and Martha offer the best they have to their guests. Abraham had a fatted calf prepared for the meal; Martha was burdened because she wanted to present her best to Jesus.
We likewise need to develop an attitude of hospitality, of welcoming all who come to seek God at our parishes. While we should strive to avoid being so caught up with the details that we are distracted like Martha, we need to acquire the generous impulses she and Abraham demonstrated.
After all, God has been generous with us, and we ought to exhibit the same generous spirit to those whom we meet in God’s name.