So, what we see in Jesus’ life is a continued invitation to all sorts of different people to share in his hospitality. The impact of that hospitality was to put a grin on the face of those invited, because the hospitality of the Lord was always a gentle encounter, tender moments that satisfied the lives of so many.
How that resembles our celebration of Sunday Mass needs a bit of teasing out.
Yes, we are invited to share a conversation with Jesus and others. Week after week that brings us to the table of the local church where the Words of Jesus are proclaimed, the healing love of Jesus shared and the food that is Jesus offered and received.
But in any experience of hospitality, we have to discover one another, and that makes the Sign of Peace a poignant moment in the Mass.
The danger is, of course, that our Sunday Mass becomes a routine and not a celebration. We go to the same Mass, sit in the same seats and offer the sign of peace to the same group of people week on week. Sadly, too, there are those who choose where they sit so as to avoid offering a sign of peace to some or all.
We are invited to share the table of the Lord, to have communion with our companions [ literally those who share bread with us]! It is really fundamental that we have to have respect, dare I say love, for those sharing the table with us. To do otherwise makes a mockery of the hospitality offered.
So, please don’t pay lip service to the Sign of Peace. It is a very important moment, a genuine sharing in the hospitality of Jesus.
Just a thought!