Keeping Faith Alive (11)


Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good…….Now from the depth of heart, wish your mind well……

Now I invite you to consecrate this day and all that come with this day….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

I pray for you and I pray for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day! May God bless you and keep you safe in the center of His Love!

I invite you to pray for each other and for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day!

We continue our meditation on keeping our faith alive. Our last meditation was on the early Christians devoting themselves to “communal life” and nurturing certain virtues which sustained their common life and inspired many who joined them: Harmony; Hospitality; Justice; compassion. This is what kept their faith alive. And that is what should keep our faith alive today.

This meditation is on the virtue of “hospitality” which was at the heart of the live of early Christians, which sustained and kept their faith alive.

Hospitality is graciousness between strangers. To be hospitable is to make space for each other; to create a space where the stranger can enter and become friend.

Hospitality is where many of the great men and women of the Bible encountered God and the messengers of God.

Abide in these thoughts for some time.

The word “Hospitality” (hospitium in Latin) derives from “hospes”, meaning “guest” and “host”. It could mean a stranger who receives a welcome or the one who welcomes.

Hospitality is an essential characteristic of Judeo-Christian traditions. Biblical literature develops the theme of the close relationship between God and the sojourner. The patriarchal stories of the Old Testament give us wonderful examples of this relationship between God and the stranger. God is encountered in the stranger and the stranger brings good news from God (Genesis 18:1-15; 19:1-11; 24:14-61)

God is identified as both guest and gracious host who befriended the Israelite people while they were strangers (sojourners). Because they were sojourners once (Deut. 10:19), the Israelites esteemed the sojourner highly.

In the New Testament, Jesus is identified as both guest and host. Always deeply conscious of and attentive to the needs of the poor, the marginalized, the sinner, the Samaritans and the Gentiles. Jesus remains a sojourner who depends upon the hospitality of others (Mt. 8:20; Mk. 7:24; Lk. 7:36; Jn. 12:2)

Jesus is presented as the supreme host when he washes the feet of the disciples and breaks bread with them (Mk. 6:41-45; Lk.22:27; Jn. 13:1-17)

To all who share possessions and heart’s affections, Jesus promised the kingdom of God (Mt.25:35-42). Refusal to share food, shelter or help is an indictment that merits condemnation.

For Jesus, “neighbor” is coextensive with “humanity” to such an extent that the stranger becomes the neighbor. And the stranger who became a neighbor is held out to us as a model.

The places where the early Christians gathered to worship were characterized by “domestic” hospitality, which included washing of the feet, care of the sick, welcome to strangers, sharing of food, care of widows and orphans and so on.

Christians must remain guests and hosts in a world that has a short supply of hospitality.

Take a moment and reflect on what it means to be guests in a world that has a short supply of hospitality.

To be guests means that we are strangers and aliens no longer, that we have been welcomed, accepted into the home…..the world has become our home.

To be guests means that we are being treated with respect; that our needs are taken care of; that we can be comfortable and at home……

To be guests means that we do not have to pretend; that we can be free to be ourselves; that we can simply and purely smile without putting on a façade; that we can touch and be touched without fear and apprehensions…..

To be guests means that we can not claim anything as our own private possession; that everything is there for our proper use; that we treat everything with respect; that we tenderly care for everything in the world…

To be guests means that we remember that it is God’s world; that it is a good world; that we should honor God’s world and all that it holds for us…..


Be still for a few moments!


Take another moment….reflect on what it means to be hosts in a world that has a short supply of hospitality!

To be a host means to open the door of welcome for another, friend or stranger….

To be a host means to be welcoming, accepting and making another feel at home…..

To be a host means to make another feel comfortable. The word “comfort” comes from two Latin words “cum’ meaning with and “fortis” meaning courage. To make the other feel comfortable means to come to the other with courage….to empower the other and free the other from fear and apprehensions….

To be host means to create a climate, atmosphere where the other can feel safe; where suspicions are removed and trust is created……

To be a host means to wait on another, to serve another who is a stranger or a friend; there is a bit of stranger and friend in all of us!

To be a host means to treat the other with respect; to care for the other with tenderness; to serve the other generously….

To be a host means to listen to the other; to understand the other’s feelings, needs and apprehensions; to be sensitive to the other and to respond to the other with kindness….

To be a host means to be gracious and be grateful for the visit of the other and to let the other know how much his/her visit is appreciated……

To be host means to let the stranger become friend…..

Be still for a moments

The Gospel of Luke (24:13-15) tells us the story of two of the disciples of Jesus journeying from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were sharing reflections on their doubts and feelings about the events which occurred during the past three days. This sharing did not remove their disappointments but enabled them to talk to a stranger about their feelings. The stranger opened the scripture for them and they began to grasp the meaning of the recent happenings. They were hospitable…they welcomed the stranger and the stranger helped them sort out their feelings.

The two travelers were open to the stranger, willing to sit at table with him and share what they had with him. They were hospitable. Their hospitality became their blessing.

Men who traveled away from Jerusalem turned around and went toward Jerusalem. On their return to the community, they experienced a new presence, a presence that brought peace to troubled minds, pace to fearful people, peace to those tormented by doubts. They touched him (their master) again. And Jesus did what he had done many times when he had something important to say or do: he asked for food. They gave him fish, a snack rather than a meal – he was alive, he ate with them. Hospitality has a way of transforming people.

Hospitality has a way of making strangers friends; taking away fears and doubts and frustrations; bringing peace into troubled minds and hearts; moving people toward others; helping people reach out in service; challenging people to share their possessions and experiences and much more………

Take a moment:

Remember people who have shown you hospitality: Name them…be with them…speak to them…listen to them…Notice how they lived…draw inspiration from them.

Remember hospitable people you have read about or heard about….Notice how they lived….. draw inspiration from them.

During the coming week, make an effort to notice the stranger….get in touch with your feelings as you notice the stranger. Prayerfully reflect on what you would like to do with the feelings and what they tell you about yourself.

Speak a kind word to the stranger that you notice if opportunity presents itself.

Be grateful for today and every day, for the miracle of life, for the amazing grace and blessing of your history, for the men and women who gave you spirit and tradition and for today, be specially grateful for your family and your community…….

May the “Year of Faith” be God’s wonderful gift to you and I pray that you will make it a gracious and joyful gift to others.

Keep your faith alive and your faith will keep you alive!

 Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs



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