Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Invitation to Christ's Hospitality
“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.””. vs 30.
In today’s Bible reading we hear the story of the disciples travelling the road to Emmaus when Jesus appears to them – first as a stranger, then as a guest and finally as a host. The story gives us some guidance as to how to do a better job of welcoming and including people in the life of the Church. Jesus is initially depicted as a stranger, giving His disciples the challenge of showing hospitality. They practice Philoxenia, which literally means “love of the stranger”.
Jesus wants us to take good care of the guests we encounter. He challenges us to feed the hungry and welcome outcasts as He did throughout His ministry. We as the members of the church, the physical body of Christ in the world today, are supposed to continue His work. We show His presence in the world every time we practice hospitality in His name. Jesus comes to us as a guest as He depicted in Mathew 25, in the final judgment of the nations. When we help a person in need, we are really helping Jesus.
But notice what happens next on the road to Emmaus, Jesus, the stranger becomes a guest of the disciples when He accepts their invitation to stay. Then He quickly changes roles. When He is sitting at the table with them, He becomes their host. He takes bread, blesses it, and gives it to them. Then their eyes opened, they found that, because they welcomed a stranger, they actually welcomed the Lord. The role of Jesus changes from stranger to guest to host when He sits at the table. This continues today when the risen Christ nourishes us through the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. As the bread is broken, we are invited to open our hearts to the presence of Christ. He has come to feed us, and to fill us with His power and His presence.
The story ends with the two disciples racing back to Jerusalem to share the news of their experience with the other disciples. This message is a proclamation and we all are challenged to do so. To make a proclamation is simply to talk about how we have experienced the activity of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Lord come to us as stranger, as a guest and a host. Help us to learn how to welcome one another around a table and then go out to the world with proclamation
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Emmaus is where we come together and strengthen our bonds with Jesus and with each other. Strive to be the best hosts we can be.
Rev. P. M. Thomas
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church