Do You Practice Hospitality? The Deeper Message Behind Accepting Guests (Gospel Reflection)

by Faith & Life, Gospels

In today’s Gospel reflection, Father Ian VanHeusen presents a spiritual exercise based on the readings for Sunday’s Mass.

St. Ignatius of Loyola explains, “By the term “Spiritual Exercises” is meant every method of examination of conscience, of meditation, of contemplation, of vocal and mental prayer, and of other spiritual activities.

“For just as taking a walk, journeying on foot, and running are bodily exercises, so we call Spiritual Exercises every way of preparing and disposing the soul to rid itself of all inordinate attachments, and, after their removal, of seeking and finding the will of God in the disposition of our life for the salvation of our soul.”

This week, we invite you to first prayerfully read the Gospel for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, then watch the video, and finally go through Father VanHeusen’s spiritual exercise.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (10:37-42)

Jesus said to his apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Let’s read this in the context of hospitality…. What are you willing to give up for the sake of others? How can you set aside personal preferences in order to welcome guests, neighbors, and foreigners into your home?

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.

Are you grateful for the hospitality that other’s show you? Are you willing to have others serve you as host/ hostess?

Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple — amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Spiritual exercise:

1) Have you ever had an important member of your community over to your house? How did you treat them? Did you practice good hospitality? Now imagine that you are having Jesus over for a meal. How might you prepare for his coming to your house? How would you make him feel welcome? You can use the dialogue sheet to have a conversation with Jesus about this meditation.

2) Remember a time you were a guest at someone else’s house. Did it go well? How did they make you feel welcome? Take a moment to pray for those people who have been gracious enough to welcome you into their homes. Pray for their salvation and their happiness. You can use the dialogue sheet to have a conversation with Jesus about your meditation.

If you would like to print out these questions, we have prepared a downloadable handout version of this Spiritual Exercise. Click the download button bellow.

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