Hospitality of heart!!

07-02-2017HomiliesFather Barnabas Duniya

The woman in the first reading was open to life; she welcomed the prophet into her home, was aware that he was a holy man of God, and set about facilitating his mission.

The second reading could be seen under this light too since it speaks of entry into the new life of Baptism. This sacrament demands generosity towards those who have pledged their lives to the gospel.

At Baptism the grace of Christ is given to us and frees us from sin. This sacrament joins us to Christ; immersion in water symbolizes the burial, taking away our guilt; emerging from the watersymbolizes the Resurrection of Christ.

We renounce sin once and for all. We are born to a new life. Our previous sins have been rubbed out by the action of grace. Now, to stay dead to sin after Baptism, a personal effort is needed, even though God's grace continues to help us mightily.

Therefore, through Baptism we have entered into the great life of the Resurrection. Levites were not given farm land, the Lord was their portion (Dt.18:1-2). They, with the prophets, depended on the charity of the faithful. Our Lord Jesus maintained the tradition and handed it over to his disciples.

The priests and the religious are to be committed to evangelization, single-minded and focused, undistracted by worldly pursuits; the lay faithful, on the other hand, are to support them materially and spiritually. Thus both participate in the mission of Jesus Christ and both have their rewards from the Lord of the harvest.

To qualify for this reward, both participants in this mission are required to die to sin and live the new life. Be counted in the service of the Lord.

In the gospel we, as disciples of Jesus, listen to his words addressed directly to us telling us how we are to open our lives to him, give him pride of place over family and friends even to the point of bearing his cross. Our welcome is to be whole-hearted, and if we are in any doubt as to where we are to exercise this total acceptance of Christ in our lives, we have only to turn to our neighbors. "He, who welcomes you, welcomes me", nothing could be clearer. Christ is all around us. He is present in our homes, at work, in those who pass us in the streets.

It is the woman who detects Elisha's mission and makes room for him in her house. How many of us make space for God in our family lives by helping our children learn the words of God in prayer and by showing respect for the things of God? When do we reflect on how God found a space in our lives?

The gospel's emphasis on hospitality is presented in the form of a strange equation: "He, who welcomes you, welcomes me." She made physical space for the holy man of God. Christianity calls on us to make space for Christ and his message in our lives.