The holy Apostles teach us to “give way to one another, just as we give way to Christ” (cf. Ephesians 5:21). What do we think this means? It’s not another legalism, though we might want to make it one. It’s a word of encouragement to us, to be humble, welcoming and supportive of others, in whom Christ lives, and for whom Christ died, to love others as we love ourselves—something we can only do if we really do love ourselves, because a friend is another self.
A perfect example of making “home” a reality is shown in the ikon called “the hospitality of Abraham.” He and Sarah were camped out at the oak of Mamre. He was sitting in front of the tent. Out on the horizon of that desolate landscape he saw three figures approaching.
Did he wait for them to come closer?
Did he pick up his blanket, go back into his tent and pull the flap over the opening, pretending to not be at home?
No, he didn’t.
He went running towards the three figures and when close, he bowed before them, much as the Japanese do today, and offered to make them comfortable, to let them rest, refresh themselves, and be fed in his humble home. He called them, “my Lord,” and then made good his offer, with Sarah’s help, to welcome them “home,” be it ever so humble. He never thought of himself, only of his guests.
Even before Christ came in the flesh, here was a man on the lookout for God coming to visit him, and He did, and in a manner that suggested something more than we could have guessed. Even though God is One, He is also Love and therefore must be more than One. Abraham made his guests feel at home, made them feel as though they belonged there, as we sometimes say without really meaning it, “Mi casa es su casa.”
I want where I live to be home, not just for me, but for anyone who knocks at my door.
Home, because the door is never locked.
Home, because anyone can take off his shoes and coat and sit down anywhere.
Home, because whatever is in the kitchen is to be eaten.
Home, because there’s always a spare pillow, blanket and bed.
Home, because your thoughts and feelings are as much respected as my own.
Home, because you are safe here, just as I am, from the world’s guile.
Home, because Jesus lives here with us.
Home, because you know that I want to be with you.
How can we make home a reality for ourselves and for others?
How can we make Christ welcome, since He is in our midst?