Please look at these pictures while I reflect a bit on the virtue of hospitality. As me giving a speech. In middle school.
<ahem> <tap, tap> <this is on already, right?> HOSpitality. It's in the Bible.
<adjusts glasses> <shuffles papers> Abraham had that thing where those angels visited him. He had to bake bread and KILL SOMETHING to feed those guys. And he did it. Before he even knew they were angels. That's hospitality.
<consults notes> Hospitality. Rebecca gave water to all those camels, so then she got to go to another country to marry some guy she hadn't met. So that's interesting. And it's hospitality.
Oh. And Elijah. The widow and her son were going to eat their last little cake, then die. But she shared her food with Elijah, so it never ran out. Then Elijah brought her son back from the dead. I'll bet she was glad she had hospitality.
We must even have hospitality towards our enemies. Proverbs 25 says: "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you." And heaping coals of fire on people's heads is, um, good I guess. If they are your enemies. So, um . . . hospitality?
And then there's the New Testament, too.
It has hospitality.
Mary went to go visit Elizabeth to help her. It was at Elizabeth's house. But I'm sure Mary was super helpful. And she probably brought some food and stuff with her. So I think that was hospitality.
And then at the wedding feast at Cana. That was someone else's house again. But still, Mary asked Jesus to help them so they wouldn't run out of wine and disappoint their guests. And he listened to her and helped them. Which is hospitality.
Jesus talked about the Good Samaritan. He showed hospitality to that guy when all the other guys were just leaving him there to die. Leaving people to die is NOT hospitality.
Jesus says we should love our neighbors as ourselves. We always feed ourselves dinner and stuff, so we should, um, also, feed our neighbors dinner. Like Jesus says. And that's hospitality.
I don't know about you, but *I* want to go to heaven. Hospitality.
The father throws a party for the Prodigal Son when he comes back from wasting his whole inheritance on a bunch of carrying on. Even though his son has really messed up, he still celebrates having him home. And because his dad offers him hospitality instead of a punishment, the son decides to get his act together.
Jesus goes to Zacchaeus' house and eats with a bunch of questionable people, but because Zacchaeus offers Jesus hospitality, he -- Zacchaeus I mean -- decides to turn his whole life around. Because of hospitality.
So, as you can see from the Bible, hospitality is good for the people who get it AND for the people who give it.
<looks meaningfully at audience> How can we put these lessons to work in our own lives?
By having hospitality.
You could wait for some angels to come over. Or your enemies. But both of those might be kinda awkward.
So maybe just invite your family over, or some friends.
You just cook them dinner. It doesn't have to be fancy. And you don't have to kill it yourself. It could even be pizza or sandwiches.
If you think you can't afford it, maybe you should think of that widow. I'm pretty sure you're not so poor that you're planning to eat your last cake and die.
If you think your house isn't nice enough, well, Mary had the shepherds and the Wise Men over to her house, which was a smelly old stable. And she had just had a baby.
Besides, when you invite people over to your house, they're going to be so happy you invited them, they won't care if everything is super neat. And if you have some music on or play some board games they will be distracted and not notice if there are some piles of stuff places.
In conclusion, God says we should have hospitality. And it is fun to have it. So, why not give it a try?
Adult me back again. If you were a party to the brouhaha last week about this time, you may be wondering how that whole Lenten disciplines/fasting on Sundays thing turned out. Scott of the About.com Catholicism page was kind enough to write me a very reassuring email and then a whole blog post explaining the history of Lent and Lenten practices. You should read it. But suffice to say, I again stand behind my first post. We plan to break our Lenten fasts of treats and screens on Sundays, but continue to try to keep our new good practices intact.