Readings: 2Kg 4:8-11, 14-16; Rm 6:3-4, 8-11; Mt 10:37-42
Hospitality, the first pillar of stewardship is the key to unlocking the message of this Sunday. In the first reading, we find a remarkable example of hospitality given by the Shunamite woman. Her hospitality to the prophet Elisha is rewarded by God. She will get a baby boy, though her husband is advanced in age. The point of the story is that making space to welcome strangers can indeed unlock God’s blessings and favors.
Jesus in the gospel passage underlines the importance of hospitality in the life of his disciples. He tells his disciples that “whoever receives” them receives him and the Father who sent him. Those who offer hospitality to them will receive an appropriate reward.
In the Joy of the Gospel #114, Pope Francis has said that “The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.”
My dear parishioners, as I prepare to retire from St. John’s, it is my hope that you have found this parish to be a place of welcome, forgiveness and spiritual nourishment. We have intentionally put the word of St. Peter into practice when he tells us: “Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” (1 Peter 4:9) We have also taken to heart the words of St. Paul who says: “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.” (Heb 13:2)
I remember that in 2011 9 years ago you gave me hospitality, and that has remained in my heart. You became family to me, my sons and daughters; my brothers and sisters. I leave St. John’s with great satisfaction for what we have accomplished together, mainly because of your trusted in the vision and mission of our parish as the Spirit guided us. Thank you for trusting in my leadership.
I want to thank in particular all the leaders who have worked with me these 9 years. Even in times of darkness, you stood with me. I want to thank all parishioners in the various ministries for their dedication and especially these days of uncertainty. I want to thank you parents for supporting your children in ministry. My closest collaborators have been the staff and I want to thank them all from the bottom of my heart for all the full support they have given me. They cared for me like their brother.
Dear parishioners, as I go on retirement, I have no doubt that you will be in good hands with Fr. Drexel and eventually with Fr. Nicholas whom some of you know. Please do not forget to pray for me. God bless you all. Ke Akua pu.
©2020 John S. Mbinda