S185P4 – The work of the brethren: a feeling like home

1 Pet. 4:7-10

The end of all things is near.  Therefore, be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Home does not always feel like home to everyone.  For some, the place which should be the center of comfort and warmth does not carry that kind of atmosphere.  When I was young, I was the kid who always stayed at my friends’ houses a little too long.  Their parents would have to send me home because it was time for them to have dinner or maybe even time to get ready for bed.  I often wore out my welcome, but I did not completely understand why I had developed that pattern.  In retrospect, the answer seems pretty clear.  I was looking for something I felt I did not receive in my own house.  The shelter was not what I craved but the feeling of family and home.

The biblical command to care for orphans and widows certainly speaks of the Church supporting those who have been left on their own and cannot provide for themselves.  Yet, if we think about it, orphans and widows have much more than a physical need.  They have been left without family and the sense of home.  Again, it is not about a place but about a feeling and atmosphere.  Being hospitable does not simply mean putting out food and drinks and welcoming people into your house.  All of that is pointless if you do not make them feel at home.  A guest wants to feel not as if he or she is permitted to be there but that he or she belongs there and is wanted there.  The good host creates an atmosphere of family among the brethren. 

Being around our brothers and sisters should make us feel at home no matter where we are with them.  We are family, and there are certain traits that characterize a good family relationship.  One of those traits is that feeling of belonging and knowing that your family will always be there for you.  Conflicts will arise, but they will be settled.  Feelings might be hurt, but they will be soothed and healed.  We are called to be a place of comfort and peace for one another, a place of belonging and companionship, a home no matter where we are.  Father, teach us the true meaning of hospitality that we would make our brothers and sisters feel at home with us.