In one of the Facebook groups I participate in, a friend posed the question, “How do I get my parishioners to be more hospitable?” People offered suggestions like scheduling hospitality teams, training ushers, asking people to welcome those around them before Mass starts, or having the priest ask visitors to stand up, introduce themselves, and be recognized by a round of applause.
I have to be honest and tell you I roll my eyes every time I hear these kinds of suggestions. Hospitality isn’t done by a group; it’s not scheduled; and it doesn’t force strangers out of their comfort zones but calls us to move out of ours.If we examine hospitality through the lens of Jesus’s reply to the question, “And who is my neighbor?” we see clearly what we need to do. Click To Tweet
If we examined hospitality through the lens of Jesus’s reply to the question, “And who is my neighbor?” we see clearly what we need to do. Whenever you see a person, on the road or at church, who is a stranger, who looks lost or in need, who is shunned, sits alone, or stands by themselves, you drop everything. You go to that person and tend to them, without being asked. Then you follow up and enlist others to do the same, making sure the person knows they have a community where they are safe, seen, cared for, and known. So now go and do likewise.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
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Image credit: Cytonn Photography, Unsplash, CC0.