Thursday, July 11, 2013

Memorial of Saint Benedict, abbot

(Genesis 44:18-21.23b-29.45:1-5; Matthew 10:7-15)

St. Benedict started monasteries in different parts of Italy and is considered as the Father of Western Monasticism.  But his influence has gone far beyond religious life fostering the roots of European civilization.  The rule that he wrote for his monks incorporates virtues like hospitality which gives the guest an honored place in the host’s household.  His monks were to treat strangers as “another Christ.”  In today’s gospel Jesus also comments on hospitality.

Jesus tells his apostles that they can expect lodging when they go to preach.  “The laborer,” he says, “is worth his keep.”  But those laborers have to bless the households that receive them with peace.  This is not a trifling gesture but a word of dynamic force because it is uttered by divinely commissioned apostles.  Hospitality then invokes a blessing upon the one who receives it and the one who gives it.

“My house is your house,” Latin-American people are fond of saying.  The phrase indicates that they have assimilated the key Christian value.  When we respond, “Peace be with you,” we also manifest the Christian way of life.