Our spirit of hospitality shapes who we are and how we relate to others.
In Luke 9:10-17, Jesus despite the scepticism of the disciples feeds five loaves and two fish. The scripture tells us, “Theyall ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” Luke 9:17. Now Jesus could have said this is all too hard and told the disciples to send the crowd away. However, knowing that that he had the gift through the power of the Holy Spirit to multiply the loaves and fishes he chose to enact that to feed the people. I believe Jesus did that not only to the nourish the five thousand but lay the ground work to provide them with spiritual sustenance that would invigorate them for the rest of our lives.
Grace is the experience of God at the heart of life and our relationship with God and others.
Grace enacts Virtues i.e. actions of God, which engages us to act with Compassion, Justice, Wonder, Hope, Hospitality and Courage. For example, in Luke 15:22-24 we read about the Parable of the Lost Son that extols these virtues evident in the actions of the Father and the Son.
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So, they began to celebrate.
Thus, we have the Father demonstrating compassion and justice when he embraces the son and offering him hospitality with a welcome home party. Additionally, the Son displays courage by choosing to come home and is prepared to work as one of his Father’s servants. Consequently, he does not have to wonder or hope about his future secure in the knowledge that his Father has forgiven him. When I encounter such virtues through my interaction with other people it illustrates a mutual respect of appreciating and acknowledging each other and the value we can bring to each other’s lives. Hence, I would argue those virtues call me to soften my heart and enable me to connect with the sacred.
We can do simple acts of hospitality that can make people feel worth something, i.e.dignity and humanity.
A fantastic illustration of these qualities being modelled is the story of Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10. What really stands out to me in this story is that Jesus knows that Zacchaeus if given encouragement will want to play a part in continuing proclaiming the Gospel. This is evident when Jesus asks Zacchaeus to come down from the tree because Jesus asks to eat with him and Zacchaeus welcomes this proposal gladly. Furthermore, Jesus also recognises there is opposition to his invitation by the people who have been wronged by Zacchaeus but is rewarded when Zacchaeus says that anybody, he as cheated he will pay back four times the amount. Sometimes when we reserve judgement and instead invest time in people that challenge us, we can be paid back in kindness. I believe this is what Jesus calls us to do daily that is get out of our comfort zone and reach out to those people struggling in their lives. Maybe like Zacchaeus they will pay us back in more ways than we can ever know.