Hospitality exemplified amidst covid-19

Word Alive By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD / June 28,2020 /13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Johnny has been charitable to his poor neighbors so one day the Lord told him, “As a fitting reward, ask three wishes and I’ll grant you.”

“First, I want one billion dollars.” Poof! There’s a flash, and a paper with a Swiss bank account number appears in Johnny’s hand.

“Next, I want a Mercedes Benz.” Poof! Another blinding flash, and a shiny Mercedes Benz is parked next to his house. “Finally,” Johnny pauses for a moment and blurted, “I want to be irresistible to women.” Poof! There’s another flash, and Johnny turns into a box of chocolates.

Lesson: God does not reward us something that’s bad.

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In today’s gospel, Jesus teaches our Christian commitment of hospitality or welcoming people into their house. Hospitality is an important part of Christian charity. The first reading about the prophet Elisha highlights this; so with the Lord who says: “”I promise you, whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of these lowly ones will certainly receive a reward.”

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During this Covid-19 pandemic, it is inspiring to know how some people have manifested Jesus’ teaching of hospitality. To cite some examples: at the height of Covid-19’s outbreak, many poor people living along the sidewalk were looking for a temporary shelter during a strong rain. A couple, who owns the POTBURRI Restaurant in Quezon City and, moved with pity, opened their door for them.

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The charitable couple gave them some food and converted their hall for sleeping accommodation.
After a couple of days, however, the barangay chairman told the couple to stop their initiative, informing them they did not have the appropriate facilities and equipments needed for a quarantine.

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Although their project was discontinued, their hospitable act was highly commendable and surely meritorious before the eyes of God.

Similarly, in Pasig City, a kind-hearted proprietor of an elegant hotel offered the facilities to serve as quarantine accommodation.

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Then there are two sisters, Evita Ricafort, a public health lawyer, and Jane. They related that when some homeowners started lending their vacant spaces, they also lent their 45-square-meter-condo unit in Caloocan to health workers as well as other frontliners like security guards, cashiers, restaurant servers, drugstore clerks, bank employees.

This happened at that time when the frontliners were discriminated against for fear of contamination and for lack of transportation, forcing them to walk home for hours.

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Jane, who called their group “Bayanihan Through Hospitality,” believes that “anyone with a spare apartment, condo, or bed space can provide this need and ‘be a blessing’ to others.” Evita adds, “Find it in your heart to share with others what privileges life and circumstance have blessed you with, especially in a time like this.”

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In today’s gospel, Jesus promises that God will reward us for all our good deed. This is shown in the first reading of this Sunday when an elderly couple took into their home the prophet Elisha. Because of their hospitality, the childless couple were rewarded miraculously with the birth of a baby son–despite the wife’s barren condition.

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Jesus himself clearly states in the gospel: “I promise you, whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of these lowly ones will certainly receive a reward” (Mt 10,42).
We have heard Jesus’ teaching. Let’s now go and DO it.

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ANNUAL APPEAL FOR THE CHURCH’S MISSION. Today, June 28, we celebrate St. Peter the Apostle Sunday. Msgr. Esteban U. Lo, LRMS national director, calls our attention, in a special way, that “we remember the younger churches, our brothers and sisters in the mission territories in the Philippines and outside the Philippines. For them we offer prayer and financial assistance, particularly ‘for the formation, training and support for seminarians, clergy and religious’” (Ordo).

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“It is a sad fact that we are all financially impacted negatively by this COVID-19 pandemic. Yet in the Church of the Poor ‘no one is so poor that he has nothing to give.’” Per the Ordo for June 28, “All collections at all masses and the evening before should be forwarded to the Most Reverend Ordinaries within 15 days.

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“Those who cannot go to the church that day may deposit their love offering to the following bank accounts: Pontifical Mission Societies of the Philippines, Inc. – BDO c/a 006578010868 or Metrobank s/a 091-3-09151543-2. For proper acknowledgment and delivery of official receipt, soft copy of the deposit slip, name and postal address of donor may be emailed to pmsphilippines2011@yahoo.com or faxed to (02) 87403030. “

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