During these nearly four months of self sheltering and quarantine, life has been rather quiet around here. The staff is largely working from home, although they are coming in to work a couple of days during the week. But we are very active, nonetheless, since all the meetings and gatherings are going on , just as before the pandemic hit, but remotely and virtually. We have actually grown as a parish, given new registrations and requests for baptisms and marriages.
And the one aspect of our parish that has certainly NOT diminished or changed since our in person gatherings have ceased, is hospitality. Thanks to the many volunteers who serve in our various ministries, the virtue of hospitality has actually deepened. Finding new and safe ways to bag groceries, to prepare and distribute freshly made meals, have been fueled by a desire to make our guests and visitors feel welcomed and served. It is so inspiring to see our volunteers diligently coming in, week after week, to live the gospel by loving the neighbor.
Jesus teaches so beautifully in today’s gospel that it just takes one little cup of cold water given to a thirsty disciple to make a difference. The unnamed woman in the first reading wanted Elisha to have a place of comfort to rest and be refreshed. These are simple examples of what it takes to practice hospitality. When the love of God is at the center of our hearts, radiating outwards, hospitality becomes second nature. Every human heart has a center, an “interior castle”, to borrow a metaphor from St. Teresa’s greatest work on prayer and spirituality. At the center of this “castle” must be Christ, if our lives are to be anchored in love. This “love,” emanating from Christ, grounds all our other “loves”: of parent, spouse, child, friend, and neighbor....everyone!!! Hospitality!!!
During these past months, our parish has been more active than ever, just in different ways. I bet this is just as true for each of us individually. I now see how retirement can be quite active!!!