Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Homily Transcript
One of the central themes in our readings today is a word that I love, it’s the word: hospitality. What do you think of when you think of gracious hospitality? Welcoming another.
St. Benedict, one of the great saints in the history of our church had what they called the ‘Benedictine Rule.’ The ‘Benedictine Rule’ was this: receive all as you would receive Christ. Or another way of saying, “Welcome all!” As you would welcome Christ. Treat even the stranger as the Christ. You never know who is knocking at the door.
Years ago, before I was ordained a priest I went to dinner with one of my classmates from the seminary. We went to the family home in the Beverly community -Christ the King. And we were sitting there having a Sunday meal and there was a knock at the door. And Mrs. Brucks got up and she answered the door. And there was a man standing there and he was, in the old language you would call them a ‘hobo.’
He was a man who walked the railroad tracks and really made his living out of begging. The hobos had their own language, I don’t know if you’re aware of that. But on telephone poles they would write messages to one another. And the message would say, go to this house and you will get a good meal. And so he was there for a Sunday meal.
I was taken aback by it, but Mrs. Brucks was a saintly woman. She welcomed him into the home. She brought him out to the sun porch in their home, she prepared a meal like we were eating a meal, on beautiful china. And she treated him with great respect.
Welcome everyone as you would welcome the Christ. Gracious hospitality.
I never forgot that life lesson taught to me by this gracious and holy woman. Interestingly enough, on her death bed in the hospital she was surrounded by her daughters. And she called to her daughters -she was very feeble, unable just to sit up- and she called to her daughters saying, “Do you see her?” Do you see her?”
And the daughters said, “Mother, what?”
“Do you see her? It’s our blessed mother. She’s come.”
And she sat up, opened her arms laid back in bed and fell into death and into the life of Christ. Gracious hospitality as disciples of the Lord.