As Christians, we should be charitable and hospitable to all, not just our friends. But when we go to church, how many of us would actually make effort or go through the trouble to look around and see if there are any strangers or newcomers especially inside the church or near the church entrance? Do we make our church a place where all are welcomed? Do we recognise the persons around us, or even the strangers in our midst, and be friendly and welcoming to them? Or do we only stick to our cliques, our family or friends? What about our housing area? Are we friendly and neighbourly to at least the houses near us? Or have we become so suspicious of persons, even neighbours, that we keep to ourselves and not have anything to do with them?
In today's reading, St. Paul reminds us: "Do
not let your love be a pretense, but sincerely prefer good to evil. Love
each other as much as brothers should, and have a profound respect for
each other. Work for the Lord with untiring effort and with great
earnestness of spirit. If you have hope, this will make you cheerful. Do
not give up if trials come; and keep on praying. If any of the saints
are in need you must share with them; and you should make hospitality
your special care."
Some of us may think that being welcoming and
hospitable to others, especially strangers and newcomers, is responsibility of the hospitality ministers. But if we consider
ourselves brothers and sisters in Christ, sons and daughters of God,
then shouldn't being welcoming and hospitable to others be our
responsibility and duty also? What about our neighbours in our housing area? Shouldn't we be hospitable and neighbourly to them too? Are we reserved and inward looking as Christians, or have we learnt to come out of our comfort zone, and reach out to others with love, care, concern, and compassion, bringing the joy of Christ to all through our words and actions?