How do we respond when people just “pop in” and interrupt our lives? Brendan Gottschall, SJ, reflects on the hospitality of Abraham and how we might respond to every person as we would to God. Based on the readings for Sunday, July 17, 2022.
Our God is a pop-in God.
Hi, I’m Brendan Gottschall, and this is my One-Minute reflection.
Before cell phones became ubiquitous, friends and relatives used to just “pop in” for a visit if they were in the neighborhood. In the first reading from Genesis today, we find three mysterious men popping in on Sarah and Abraham.
This scene is captured most famously in the 15th-century Russian icon written by Andrei Rublev called the Hospitality of Abraham. The visitors are interpreted to be a manifestation of the Holy Trinity. God appears to Abraham and Sarah as strangers in need of refreshment and hospitality.
Their response is key. Abraham “ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them.” This reminds me of the father in the Prodigal Son story who runs to greet his returning child. How often do we run to greet strangers or those in need, especially when they are popping in unannounced? Exercising radical hospitality is essential to being Christian and is often an encounter with God.