Vol: 44, No.37 13TH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR ( A) July 02 2017  
with regard to the guest and host played by God or Christ, serve to distinguish the notions of the biblical writers from those of their contemporaries.
A significant feature of hospitality that emerges from the OT is Israelís deep sense of God as its host. Conscious of its formation from descendants of Abraham, Israel knew and treasured its identity as a pilgrim people (Deut 26:5-22), especially during the Exodus journey when it received manna from God in the wilderness (Exod 16-17). Having taken possession of the Promised Land, Israelites nevertheless remembered that their home belonged to God and that they, like their ancestors, remained sojourners and passing guests in Godís eyes. Precisely as inhabitants of the land, they pictured themselves being led into green pastures and feted at the table of the divine king in the presence of their enemies. When Israelís prophets looked forward to an era of perfect peace, it was no accident that they envisioned God entertaining the people at an endless feast (Amos 9:13-15; Joel 3:18).
Throughout their early history, the Jews prized hospitality as a virtue. Particularly the synagogue served as a hostel or meeting place for travellers seeking accommodation. At the Sabbath eve meal visitors were welcomed. Among the rabbis, scholars were to be given precedence in the receiving of food and lodging. The patriarch Abraham emerged as a special exemplar of hospitality among many Jewish groups. Some rabbinic stories portray Abraham as the founder of inns for travellers, the inventor and
teacher of grace after meals, and the missionary host who insists that his guests praise the God of Israel for the meal or pay cash for it.
The ministry of Jesus also manifests the theme of hospitality. Jesusí proclamation of the kingdom is frequently symbolized by images of food and drink especially at festive meals. Thus the kingdom is compared to a great banquet, and Jesus ends his ministry with a ceremonial meal at which words about eating and drinking in the kingdom are spoken. The majority of Jesusí parabolic sayings have to do with the production and use of food and drink or the providing of homelike refuge for Godís creatures. What seems to lie behind such teaching is a conviction held by Jesus that God is revealing himself powerfully as Israelís host.
Jesus was very much dependent on hospitality for his daily care and lodging. Christians in their travels would seek out Christian brethren, partly for protection but mainly to share fellowship. Hospitality was the chief bond which brought the early churches a sense of unity for they helped each other.
Perhaps the most winsome of all reflections on hospitality by early Christian writers is found in Heb 13:2 where believers are urged to receive strangers graciously on the ground that ďthereby some have entertained angels unawares.Ē Clearly the allusion is to Abrahamís enthusiastic reception of the three heavenly messengers (Gen 18:1-15). But Jesus too may come as a stranger.
Ė Dr Augustine Kanachikuzhy, ssp
July 2017 READINGS OF THE WEEK Psalter Week 1
03 Mon (W) ST THOMAS, APOSTLE OF INDIA, Solemnity for India
Acts 10:24-35/ Ps 42:1, 2, 4/ Heb 1:2-3/ Jn 20:24-29
04 Tue (G) Gen 19:15-29/ Ps 26:2-3, 9-12/ Mt 8:23-27
05 Wed (G) St Elizabeth of Portugal Gen 21:5, 8-20/ Ps 34:7-8, 10-13/ Mt 8:28-34
06 Thu (G) St Maria Goretti Gen 22:1-19/ Ps 115:1-9/ Mt 9:1-8
07 Fri (G) Gen 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67/ Mt 9:9-13
08 Sat (G) Gen 27:1-5, 15-29/ Ps 135:1-6/ Mt 9:14-17
Forthcoming Issues
Cycle A
Copyright © 2019 St Pauls India.