“Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” (Hebrews 13:2)
Dear Parish Family and Friends,
As a child any time someone would come over I heard my parents exclaim with a loud voice, “καλώς ορίσατε”. This joyful way of saying ‘welcome to our home’ is one which I will always remember. My parents would not only say this but they would also show how welcome people were into their homes by their action. They would immediately offer a drink. They would offer some kind of food to snack on. People were generally treated very well. This comes from a very important notion of “φιλοξενία” the ‘welcoming of strangers’.
I mention this to you because the idea of welcoming people is one that is not foreign to our faith either. St. Paul reminds us to be welcoming of each and the stranger. In Romans he says “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” Also in Hebrews, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” St. Paul is reminding us to welcome each other and the stranger as Christ has received us. Not one of us is perfect. But our Lord welcomes us into a relationship with Him with an outpouring of love, forgiveness, and openness. This my friends, is how we are called to welcome each other and strangers.
Last month we had our Ministry Fair. It was a day where we welcomed each other back for a new year of ministry. A day where we showed each other what each ministry does and welcomed each other to participate. Last month we also had our festival. A three day affair where we again showed who we are. We showed that we are a welcoming community.
My friends and my family as we continue with another year of ministry it is imperative that we remember to continue this way of living. We must continue to receive each other with an outpouring of love. We must continue receiving the stranger with this same outpouring of love. In so doing we will fulfil our responsibility of reaching out to the other in a Christ centered way.