English EspaƱol Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Lord, Come Visit My House

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is a verb that shines particularly in the readings of this Sunday; in the verb “Welcome”, you surely remember that among the seven corporal works of mercy, there is one that is called “hosting the pilgrim.” Today, it is almost impossible to perform that work of mercy in the conditions of uncertainty and insecurity that we fear in many places. Hosting a stranger, in reality, means exposing not only the goods but even one’s own life. But, this does not mean that this work of mercy should disappear from our horizon.

In the biblical world it was important to host the pilgrim, in that environment of the desert, not to welcome a person who is on the way, means, simply condemn him to death … That is no longer our situation, but the verb to receive is still so important today as in that time. The verb to welcome is still important, there are many people who suffer frightful loneliness; maybe they have somewhere to sleep, where to eat, what they do not have is a place in the heart of their own relatives; perhaps they lack friends and die in the utter loneliness.

In England – London, not long ago, a person who lived alone, died. He was completely forgotten, by his relatives, completely unknown to his neighbors and it was the smell of his corpse in decomposition, which caused the neighbors to call the police. When the police entered, they found themselves in a macabre case: a cadaver half-nested on a sofa, in front of a television. The television had been on for months and that man had died in absolute loneliness. You see? He had food, which incidentally was rotting in his refrigerator, he had lodging, he had a bed, he even had a good TV but he was not welcomed.

We need to recover the verb “welcome”, we need the essence of this work of mercy… The same as Mary and Martha welcomed Christ (Lk 70,38-42), so we also accept Christ in our brothers who often suffer from need, even if it is not noticed.