Congratulations to our Graduates!
Graduation Day! How exciting, with all their future before them. Graduation and its celebrations are a little different this year. This year we celebrate in a different way.
The word you hear the most from all of these people is the word success. They will want you to be successful in life. They want you to have a successful career. They want you to be someone they can be proud of. Your parents, your teachers, even your priest, will always want you to be successful. And that’s because all of us only want the best for you. So we define success in the best way possible: that you will have the best. Congratulations and all the best for the future.
A farmer, who went to a big city to see the sights, asked the hotel's clerk about the time of meals. "Breakfast is served from 7 to 11, dinner from 12 to 3, and supper from 6 to 8," explained the clerk. "Look here," inquired the farmer in surprise, "when am I going to get time to see the city?"
Hospitality was one of the great virtues of the Bible. The ancients believed that each person should be welcomed as though one were welcoming God himself. In our first reading, we see, in Elisha’s welcome by a childless woman who lived in Shunem. Shunem is located about 30 miles northeast of Samaria. It is a beautiful story of generosity and the love of God.
We don’t see a name for the women in Shunem, she showed Elisha reverence and hospitality by inviting him to dine with her and her husband and by allowing the prophet to occupy an upper room of her house. Later Elisha asked, "Can something be done for her?" His servant Gehazi, a name which means “valley of vision,” answered; "Yes! She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years." In response, Elisha said to the woman, "This time next year you will be fondling a baby son." You might remember a similar event in the Book of Genesis. Three men on a journey came upon Abraham’s tent. Abraham treated them with complete respect, welcoming them, and providing for their needs. In response, they promised him that his wife, Sara would have a baby within a year. She was inside the tent and heard this. Knowing that she was beyond childbearing years, she started laughing. But in a year, Abraham and Sarah had a baby they named Isaac, which means Child of Laughter.
The tenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew starts the commissioning the twelve. Then he instructs them. This weekend reading is concluding part of His instructions. Gospel of Matthew says, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…” Gospel of Luke (14:26) says “hate” father and mother; Luke actually says the same thing as Matthew.
Jesus uses the words; (10:37) "more than me" is literally "above me." The priority of faith demanded radical consequences for early Christians. Jesus reminded his followers that the Christian life involved such risks (a cross to carry in 10:38).
At the same time, Jesus stresses hospitality. He says, (10:40) "Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” In other words, whoever welcomed the other, welcomed Christ and his Father. Even in the smallest kindness, God rewarded the minister and the host equally.
Hospitality is more than just being good hosts, it all about encountering the presence of God in other people. The second reading, taken from Paul’s letter to the Romans, explains that in our Baptism, we have been baptized into Jesus’ death and buried with him, and we look forward to resurrection with him. Since Baptism is our way into this new life, it makes us part of the Body of Christ, and Christ is truly present in us. That is why the one who welcomes us welcomes Christ and becomes eligible for a reward.