Hospitality

16 Jul

The first reading for the 16th Sunday Cycle C (Genesis 18) reminds us and reminded the Jews (if they needed it) of the significance of meals. You have to go back in time before there were takeaways and street food.  For the nomadic tribes in the early bible stories and even for the settled peoples in towns and villages, meals were a family get-together highlighted for the Jews each Sabbath and especially at Passover.  Today there has been a transformation and some sense of community may have been lost, but people still meet together at home, in restaurants (or pubs).

Nowadays we also have the folk meeting for a coffee or other drink; a meeting that often carries with it the idea of friendship etc. that the meal would have had.  In the stories that we have in the Gospels there are accounts of meals (notably the marriage fest at Cana and the feeding of thousands out in the countryside as well as the last supper.  It is Luke who relates the most meals taken by Jesus and these give us an incite into their significance.  They are a time for showing concern for others with discussions, feet washing and careful seating arrangements.  If Jesus’ public ministry was about three years then He would have had about 1,000 meals then.

These meals or token meals are very significant for human beings.  Any meal or meeting for ‘coffee’ are an expression of the interpersonal care that we have and should have.  Christians also believe that there are three persons in God, who interact and work together in our world.  This is captured in a famous artwork by Rublev, often seen as the a depiction of the Trinity, but more likely related to Abraham’s meal of the first reading (see above).  So let us be sensitive to this deeper meaning of our human interactions!

 

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