Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
The welcome and the angels
Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body. Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers. Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.” Thus we may say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper, (and) I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” Heb 13,1-6
Hebrews, the author, before the final greetings, provides some practical warnings and he calls back to the respect of the fundamental virtues: the brotherly love, the hospitality, the visit to the jailed people, the defence of the maltreated persons, the chastity, the holiness in the wedding and the lack of interest for the money. The path towards the holiness and the peace, personal, within the family and social, is paved by these virtues. The author, ,however, stops particularly on the practice of the hospitality: “some people welcomed some angels without not being aware of it”. It is enough to think of Tobi who, in the Holy Scriptures, when welcoming the archangel Raphael ( Tb 12,15-20), fixes all his problems: he recover the health of the eyes after having been blind, he gets back an important amount of money which was necessary for him and his son Tobia marries Sara, a virtuous woman. Or we can think of Abraham who, when giving hospitality at the Oaks of Mamre directly to the Lord, under the dresses of a wayfarer, receives as a gift the invigorated fertility of the wife Sara, by that time aged, who will give him the son of the promise, Isaac. We too have given hospitality to persons who, in our life, showed later to be angels: it happened with Father Arthur, with our friend Mary and with some others, but the one who proved to be an Angel with the capital A was the grandmother Betta. When we welcomed her in our house, after our wedding, she was a widow sick because of angina pectoris who had, as a perspective of life, the loneliness in a town far away from us. In our house, due to the sequence of the births of the grandsons, she found the joy of living and she allowed to us as parents, with her vigilant presence, to serenely practice our professions. We are fully aware that the grandmother Betta was not the incarnation of an angel: she was a normal person. During the elapsing of the years, however, she was the angel protecting our sons within our family. The truth is this one: if we give hospitality to a needing person, really we give it to the Lord who, via the mysterious ways of the Spirit, operates in a way that this persons results as an angel. The Lord is not beaten by no one in generosity.