Jesus tries to enter a Samaritan village but is unwelcomed. What, his disciples ask, should visitors do to those who do not welcome them? Naturally, Jesus’s friends want to wish them ill, to pray that fire from heaven destroy the village (reminiscent of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah). But rather than rebuking those who denied hospitality, Jesus rebukes his friends! We must love everyone, not desire the bad for others, including those who are unkind to us.
Thankfully, Jesus does not reign fire from the heavens when we close the doors of our heart to him spiritually, or fail to offer hospitality to him in the guise of the stranger. Instead, we are invited to take a personal inventory and examine our consciences. What parts of my heart am I not sharing with him in prayer? How am I and my community being invited to be a person of hospitality to the tired, weary, and suffering?
—Mike Tedone, SJ, is a Jesuit Scholastic of the West Province in First Studies at Loyola University Chicago.