One emphasis that appears in the Old Testament is the need for the Jewish people to keep themselves apart from the surrounding nations to preserve the purity of their faith from the paganism around them. But there is also the teaching that appears in today’s reading from Isaiah that the Lord God is the only true god, and he welcomes the foreigners who worship him, “for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
God’s love for all humanity is also behind St. Paul’s teaching in Romans that God allowed the Jews to reject Jesus as the Messiah so the Church would proclaim to the Gentiles that he is the universal Savior of all peoples. And Jesus, while limiting his mission to the Jewish during his earthly ministry, responded with compassion to Gentiles who approached him in faith.
These Scripture readings make clear the God welcomes all who turn to him, without regard to nationality or class. As we seek to be good stewards, how closely do we follow that example? How well do we practice hospitality, one of the pillars of a stewardship parish? Do we welcome all who come to worship God, or do we erect barriers of class or color?