Hospitality, a universally celebrated virtue, is very Christian. Christ says in our gospel that even a cup of cold water given in his name will not lose its reward. The Irish are famous for their open houses and Christian hearts. Behind today’s bolted doors, lets confess any failure in openheartedness..
There’s a wonderful scene in Alice Taylor’s “The Woman of the House”. Kate comes home from England to attend her father’s funeral. Coming to the door of the house where she was reared she finds it bolted. She remembers when she was young that house was always open for people to come and chat, or drink tea, or share their woes. Now there’s a new woman of the house, her door’s always bolted, the door of her heart. Kate is shocked by this and longs for a time when generous hearts will come again.
That’s what I wish for us this Sunday, that our homes will always be open. For the essence of faith is caring and its God that inspires that in our hearts. Indeed we’re here at the surest sign of open-heartedness, the Eucharist. For its God’s body and blood given for us. Here Christ, the lord of love, shapes us into a caring family, making us sisters and brothers to each other.
In monasteries religious address each other as brother or sister. That’s what we all are as children of God in Christ. And since we’re his family He promises in our gospel that where we gather in his name he’s there in our midst. With him comes love, unity and peace. Our ancestors knew this; their doors were always open to faith and neighbor. When people entered houses in the old days the greeting was God and Mary be with you, Dia is Muire duit. Or peace be to this house. Everyone was offered a cup of tea or something stronger. This same sharing was seen in the way everyone turned up at funerals, to support and console sisters and brothers in grief. In the old wake houses lavish hospitality was showered on sympathizers. People were all in the same boat of poverty at that time and there was no room for heads in the air.
And that what Christ meant when he told the parable of the Good Samaritan. For in a true Christian community we’re never alone in life or in death. We’re a communion of human and Christian solidarity that includes the living and the dead, for the church transcends time. So as we gather here in this love and faith the gospel reminds us of the key aspect of our fellowship, charity. He who gives even a cup of cold water to someone will have his reward, Christ says. Our calling is to be concerned about each other, to build community, to affirm that “no man is an island”.
So its sad nowadays to see so many in big houses who hardly know their neighbor. Are the hard values of money, pride and arrogance destroying the human Christian warmth that’s our heritage. I hope not for only by supporting each other can we survive, thrive and redeem the coldness of heart that is Satan’s cruel way. And Only by warm hearted reaching out to others will we fill the vacuum of loneliness so many experience today. We ask mother Mary for such neighborly solidarity, to give us her motherly heart and to pour abundant blessings on community building so that our area will be a kind place where eucharistic community spills over into concern for all. For the world’s hard self-centered values and arrogance of which Satan’s lord pass and is useless in the grave but Christ’s Lord of grace, peace and warm-hearted love forever and ever amen. So as God’s own, making hospitality and caring a reality in our hearts and homes, as a Christian people, lets profess our common inherited faith…
Prayers of the faithful
For our holy Father and all leaders of God’s family which is the church, that they may spread Christ’s hospitable love, warmth, peace and grace to the international community they serve..
For civil leaders that they may not let the hard world of economics rule them to the detriment of care for the people..
For youth, may they have open, hospitable warm hearted Christian hearts in their relationship and so be true children of God..
For ourselves that in our homes and community we may have that hospitable spirit that is our heritage and so be happy and bring happiness to all in our houses, especially our children..
For the sick, the old, the lonely and the depressed in society that through our reaching out to them in love they may find hope, peace, comfort and fullness of life..
For the dead that through our caring prayers for them and fond remembrance they may be one with us in the communion of saints 7 come safely to their heavenly rest..
And we ask all these our prayers through Christ our Lord the only lord of love, peace, grace and happiness forever and ever amen.
In the end we’ll be judged by Love St.Theresa says. That is the quality and warmth of our love to those around us will determine our reward in heaven. Sometimes stressing doctrine or morality or other aspects of the faith we forget this, its our love that God will look at last not the petty faults that stay with us. For, as Paul says, charity covers a multitude of sins. So conscious of that lets as Mary to give us her motherly heart..