Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Our Gospel passage for this week is found in Mark Chapter 10, verses 40–42

In this week’s Gospel, in just a few short sentences of power and compassion, we are challenged to think more deeply about what it means to welcome one another. It is only after doing so that we discover the reward that comes from the deep hospitality found in God’s welcome of us. In today’s reading, our theological focus is on compassionate welcome or hospitality as a form of service to Christ. Reviewing the list from our verses, we must realise that this welcome can and should be performed by us at any time and is not limited to specific days and times. The simple, basic acts of kindness we perform in genuine welcome of one another are all that God asks of us. We must look around is to see who is in need and then do something about it. The Gospel lesson invites us to ask all of the questions about the quality of welcome that we offer to one another within the body of Christ, the Church. Jesus addresses these issues in the most personal of terms. He describes the love that families hold for one another, the tenderness with which we care for parents and for children. That tenderness and compassion must be our model for loving all who come into our lives, in Christ’s name. When we welcome the stranger, we welcome none other than the Christ. Sadly, this view is so different and almost non-existent in today’s Churches but this challenges us to think about our own Churches and reminds us of who we are. Now Jesus arrives and says, ‘Take that love for family, that love for your closest community, and extend it, extend it further and further still. Welcome in the stranger. Welcome in the one whose life you hardly understand. Not to change them, but simply because they too are God’s.’ As we extend hospitality to others, we may well find that we experience new insights and hear new stories of faith that redirect our perceptions. Such witness can stimulate our theological and spiritual imaginations so that we become new beings. This is the reward we will not lose.

Blessings, Fr Jonathan