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Serving friends and strangers

(Gen 18.1-10; Col 1.24-28; Lk 10.38-42)

There is a wonderful story about two friends who had not seen each other for many years. As they poured out their stories, their friendship was rekindled. At a certain stage both fell silent. After some time one commented, the Christ in me recognises and salutes the Christ in you.

Genuine hospitality goes far beyond custom and courtesy. It is the recognition of God coming in disguise. Abraham detected something profound in these three visitors, addressed them as ‘my Lord’, and laid the ground for their unexpected prophecy. Martha and Mary knew Jesus as a friend, but something beyond that too. Mary by her listening opened up a space for exploring while Martha was just too preoccupied about what should prop up that space.

Serving and listening to a friend or stranger are both arts of love, but each vibrates in another dimension when they are shaped by the recognition that Paul proposes, “The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory.” (Col 1.27)

16th Sunday year C1

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