Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
Friday's Gospel tells us the importance of hospitality, hearkening back to the story of Abraham and his wife, Sarah entertaining the three young men who turned out to be angels from God.
Hospitality is very revered in the Middle East, where the climate is harsh and unforgiving. It could literally be life-saving if a person offered a traveler hospitality and it was expected of all--even if the person was a stranger. Today, true self-giving through hospitality is rare, I think. How many of us are truly hospitable without any attachment to the outcome for us?
In addition to the common vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, the Little Sisters of the Poor take a fourth vow of hospitality. They promise to serve their elderly residents, paying attention not only to their physical needs but their spiritual needs as well.
St. Jeanne Jugan founded the Little Sisters in Saint-Servan, France in 1842 at the age of 50. She began taking in elderly women who needed care into her 2 room apartment. Today there are Little Sisters in 31 countries serving the elderly poor and modeling hospitality to us all.
As Lent draws near, let's think of the ways in which we can show our hospitality to those in need this year.