2Kings 4:8-11, 14-16; Rom 6:3-4, 8-11; Matt 10:37-42
In the book entitled Understanding the Filipino, authored by Tomas Q. Andress that for us Filipinos, we have these superstitious belief that if a fork drops to the floor accidentally, a male visitor is coming; if a spoon, a female visitor. Also, when a cat sitting by the door cleansing its paws or rubs its face, a visitor is coming or when a house lizard makes noise, a visitor will come. Again, when someone sings in front of a fire while cooking, a visitor is coming soon.
These types of superstitious beliefs have something to do with one of our cultural values that make us Filipinos known abroad, being hospitable to our visitor. May be this is the reason why we have so many hospitality girls (prostitutes), I’m just kidding. But this Filipino value called hospitality has something to do, again, with what Jesus is saying in our gospel today: “Whoever receives you, receives me…” (Vv. 40-42).
To be hospitable is obviously not an easy thing. It demands a lot of time and convenience, not to mention financial resources. Like for example, in ordinary situations, when friends, relatives and even strangers are very much welcome to stay in Filipino houses. Sometimes, a member of the family had to give up a room for a guest and he slept in the receiving room as his temporary bedroom. When somebody tells him to visit his house, he has to prepare everything: food, physical arrangement of the house and even himself and other members of the family. Always remember that hospitality is part of the Christian charity which is at the center of Jesus’ teaching (vv. 37ff.).
One time, when I went home to our place in Maasim, Sarangani Province, I really enjoyed my stay there. I visited some of my relatives, smiling at people that I met in the road and occasionally stopping for a short talk or just saying hello. It was really nice to experience the simplicity, friendship, warmed welcome and hospitality of the neighbors of my parents. But what touched me most was when my childhood mate ran to me and handed to me a pair of chicken which is the product of his small poultry, for me to bring along on my way back to Marbel Cathedral.
Fr. Henri Nouwen in his book entitled Reaching Out, defined hospitality as: “the creation of a friendly space where a stranger can enter and leave in freedom and also, to provide a comfortable empty space for them.” Even Marcel Lefebvre in his book entitled Une Parole Liberatrice defined hospitality as: “the capability of giving up one’s comfort and well-being and to put oneself in the place of others.”
But, what are the signs that we, as Filipinos, are following the teaching of Jesus of being hospitable? There are many but I only give three signs.
First, when we are willing to share our 3 Ts (Time, Talent, Treasure). There are many who are willing to sharing these three Ts but the problem is: They don’t know how, where and when; because they don’t know, some people share them in some other things like: buying liquor for the group of friends for them to drink until they got drunk. But we should not share our eight Ts (Tatamad-tamad, Tatanga-tanga, Tutulog-tulog, Titsismis-tsismis, Tatago-tago, Tatraidor-traidor, Tsutsumi-Tsumikap, Tataranta-taranta) because they can cause bad influence.
Second, when we are willing to share our 3 Ps and 1 B, that is, Pakikiramay (sympathy) or going out of one’s way to assist even without being asked; Pakikisama or going along with certain people whom one may like to displease for various reasons; Paggalang or giving respect to the opinions of those who are elders, in authority and of peers during deliberations on important matters; and Bayanihan or being a hero by giving assistance without compensation.
Third, when we faithfully follow what Jesus is saying: “What you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to me,” (Matt 25:40).
So my dear friends, let us reflect this gospel today which talks about hospitality and always remember what Jesus is saying: “whoever receives you, receives me…”