Jesus sent out disciples two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. Jesus “ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts.” Jesus sent them out with authority and in need, with power and weakness. They needed hospitality from those to whom they were sent. They had to receive and rely on others.
Jesus revealed God not as distant and self-reliant but vulnerable and personal, coming as a baby and dwelling by growing up, living closely with us. In his longest recorded personal conversation, at a well in Samaria, Jesus began by asking for a drink. He was thirsty and had no bucket. Jesus offered good news and connection with his own need.
Hospitality, offering radical welcome, is not only for us to give but essential for us to receive. We Brothers welcome many alongside us in the monastery each week, and this is God’s house. We are all guests receiving God’s sustenance. As a frequent host, it’s hard and healing when I choose to receive hospitality. Being reliant and cared for as a guest furthers my conversion.
Life in community reminds us of being guests. Living together, under God’s roof anywhere, reveals our wounds as much as our gifts, our needs as much as our abilities. As we say in our Rule of Life: “We are … called to accept with compassion and humility the particular fragility, complexity and incompleteness of each brother.”[i] We rely on one another’s gracious welcome to be helped, to have our feet washed, and continually to be converted.
To whom has God sent you to serve? Beware of going only with power, only to give. Like Jesus and his first disciples, go open also to receive. For salvation comes in through our need.
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