Posted by: livingscripture | June 27, 2015

Twelfth Saturday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Daytrinityicon[1]

“The Lord appeared to Abraham by the Terebinth of Mamre, as Abraham sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot.  Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby.  When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground, he said, ‘Sir, if I may ask you this favor, please do not go on past your servant.  Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest yourselves under the tree.  Now that you have come this close to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way.”  The men replied, ‘Very well, do as you have said’.”

(Genesis 18: 1-5)

How should we live this Word

 This text of the first reading of the Liturgy today is known by the Eastern Fathers as the ‘hospitality of Abraham’.  The Terebinth of Mamre is a theological place besides being a geographical one, located intimately in the life of our Father in the faith, Abraham, and of the first patriarchs.  As we see, the Biblical text alternates the plural and the singular.  This enigmatic alternation creates a certain ‘alone’ of mystery that has led some Eastern Fathers to see in it a first, distant pre-announcement of the mystery of the Trinity.  We can recall the famous icon of the Trinity of the iconographer Rublev, where the three Divine Persons are represented by three angels under the Terebinth of Mamre.

The world of Abraham, that of Jesus, and our world of today are very different, and yet the value of hospitality is worth reconsidering more deeply, also because it has become an overpowering and burning reality in our times.  It deals with going from ‘hostility’ to ‘hospitality’.  Today in particular, we are called to make possible the passage from ‘enemy’ to ‘guest’.

We are therefore invited to reconsider the value and the implications of hospitality, knowing that God first is the one who gives us hospitality and is also the one who asks to be welcomed in our brothers and sisters.  This is offered to and asked of all true Christians.  It requires an intelligent love guided by faith.  It is important to recognize it is He who welcomes us and, therefore, we enter into the various works of hospitality beginning with our personal rapport with Him.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I shall ask Jesus to open my heart to welcome the stranger and help in any way I can.

Wise and merciful Father, give us a heart that is humble and meek to listen to the word of Your Son that still resounds in the Church gathered in His name and to receive Him and welcome Him as our guest in the person of our sisters and brothers.

 The Voice of St. Benedict, Father of Western Monasticism

All the guests that come to the monastery are to be received as Christ because one day He will say to us, “I was a stranger and you took me in”.  The guests who arrive or depart are to be greeted with the deepest humility: the head inclined, the body prostrate to the ground, adoring in them the Christ who is truly received.  (Rule # 53)

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