Loving God, your son Jesus said
your Kingdom is like a banquet;
a festive gathering for all people
of every race and color --
a table at which the lonely find company,
the hungry savor rich foods and fine wine,
and strangers enjoy warm family ties.
Jesus calls us to build this kingdom here on earth.
Teach us, Lord, the ways of hospitality.
Give us the spirit of joyful welcome and
the sensitivity to help people on the move
to feel they belong.
Grant that our tables at home may draw
our new neighbors from other lands
into a loving community
and that the eucharistic tables
in our churches may prefigure
that banquet in heaven where all are one in you,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
Prayer for Hospitality from "Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers"
We are emerging from the pandemic into a world even more conflicted than when quarantine began. Splits in groups and churches, largely along political lines, have damaged the American church. The gift of hospitality could serve the church even more than ever, as it includes civility, mutual respect and kindness in its components.
The practice of Christian mindfulness aids the re-emergence of hospitality, as the shelter-in-place/ Zoom nation practices are now habit. To be hospitable in person, we must be more intentional in our behavior and attitudes.
This is no surprise. Some Christians have hospitality as a spiritual gift. But many others do not. They would rather stay in and watch a movie alone. Yet all are called to be hospitable.
In 1 Peter 4: 9-10, Peter writes: "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to share others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."
In fact, the word for hospitality in the Bible's original Greek is "philoxenia," which means "love of strangers." I think we are called today to be hospitable to some "strangers" that we thought we knew, until their political choices involving votes, masks and vaccines made them seem different from us.
In Romans 12:13, Paul encourages everyone to practice hospitality. And St. Benedict asked his followers to see each person they encountered as a gift from Jesus.
If God abides in us, as we who practice Christian mindfulness believe, we have the opportunity to show Him to all those we meet. Dealing with each other with civility, grace and love is a great step back toward unity in the church.
This beautiful prayer for unity from Jane Deren of Education for Justice (published in July 2021's issue of "Give Us This Day") sums up our personal challenges within this period of time.
God of all, you challenge us
to be a unified national community.
You call us to move beyond
so we may create
a vision of common good
so sorely needs for our country.
In this time of confusion,
you call us to see clearly
with the lens of justice for all.
In this time of disrespect for so many,
you call on us to practice respect
for all voices around the table,
and for all voices not heard in the discussions.
In this time of personal insecurity,
you call on us to be grounded
in compassion for others
and secure in the knowledge
we are called to community.
In this time of despair for so many,
you call us to practice hope.
God of all, bless our nation at this time
and open the way to unity
so we may follow your call.