Hospitality is a virtue much praised by Saint Francis, as he encouraged his followers:
“Anyone who comes to the brothers, friend or enemy, thief or robber, is to be received with kindness…they are to greet one another wholeheartedly and lovingly, and honor one another without grumbling.” (Rule of 1221, Chapter VII)
Through the Year with Francis of Assisi: Daily Meditations from His Words and Life
Sometimes it can be a real challenge to be hospitable. I don’t always succeed at the “wholeheartedly and lovingly” part, and I’m particularly bad about “grumbling.” But I was shown a lovely example of hospitality twice this week–at the schools my Big Kids will attend next year. And there was no grumbling.
Middle Sister will be transferring into a different parochial school, as the parish school she has been attending since kindergarten will shut its doors in June. It’s hard to start over again in a new place, though for her it will be made easier because 6 of her classmates will be coming with her, and she already has one friend there. We adults have it tougher. The PTA hosted a potluck dinner the other night and the families from our old school were the guests. We were fed a delicious meal, given handmedown uniforms to start our children’s school wardrobe, informed about some programs, and most importantly, graciously and enthusiastically welcomed. It’s a hard transition, but it helps so much to know that there are friendly faces in the new school. It will be OK.
Big Brother will be starting high school in the fall. This morning all students who won scholarships for next year (he won a partial scholarship!) were honored at a Mass and brunch. Our whole family was invited to attend. Again, we were shown wonderful hospitality.
Today’s Gospel speaks of what the Lord does for us:
Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
Jesus, in laying down His life for us, did so wholeheartedly and lovingly, without grumbling–the perfect example of holy hospitality.