July 17, 2016: Welcoming Christ
This past(July 11) was the feast of St. Benedict. In his monastic Rule he wrote, "All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matthew 25:35)."
St. Benedict's teaching connects with the Liturgy today. Abraham and Sarah welcome three unexpected visitors to their tent with generous hospitality and a lavish meal. In the text (Genesis 18:1-10) the guests are sometimes described as three persons and sometimes as one. Christians reading and hearing this passage see a kind of "pre-enactment" of the Trinity. This intriguing scene is the inspiration of the famous Rublev icon of the Trinity. The gospel portrays Mary and Martha as two very different ways to be present to Jesus the guest: one listened to him attentively while the other was busy with the details of hospitality.
We are called to reflect on how we welcome guests -- expected ones as well as unexpected ones. When have you sensed the presence of Christ in a guest?