Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hospitality

At first, the word "hospitality" might evoke the image of soft sweet kindness, dinner parties, bland conversations and a general atmosphere of coziness. This has its good reasons since in our culture the concept of hospitality has lost much of its power and is often used in circles where we are more prone to expect a watered down piety than a serious search for an authentic connection. But I have seen that everyone is searching for a hospitable place where life can be lived without fear and where community can be found. Sometimes that search can be painful.

The point then is to offer an open and hospitable place where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become fellow human beings. We should be creating a free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.

For those Christians that might be reading this, examples can be found all throughout the Bible. (Genesis 18:1-15; 1 Kings 17:9-24; Luke 24:13-35) Old and New Testament stories not only show us how serious our obligation is to welcome the stranger in our home, but they also tell us that guests are carrying precious gifts with them, which they are eager to reveal to a receptive host. Within the context of hospitality guest and host can reveal their most precious gifts and bring new life to each other.

Hospitality is a concept worth restoring to its original depth and evocative potential. This richness in virtue could deepen and broaden our insight in our relationships to our fellow human beings.

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