Gn 18: 1-10a
The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.”
So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it.Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
While teaching Hebrew Scriptures at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, this favorite passage reinforced what it means to be a Christian people, to be men and women for others.
The word ‘for’ serves as a function word, linking men and women to others. In its ambiguity, we may wonder what it means to be ‘for’ someone else…
Abraham rushed to the three strangers…and begged them to stay.
The root of hospitality is being hospitable, hosting others. From the simple, water to wash their feet, to the succulent, a tender and good calf, Abraham took good care of the strangers.
We note that Abraham does not wash the feet of the strangers nor does he eat with them. He simply does for them.
Out of their generosity, the promise found fulfillment: Sarah would bear a son!
How are we called to be for others today?
—Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ, has completed his term as president of Loyola High School in Detroit and will soon leave for his tertianship experience in Cape Town, South Africa
Lord Jesus, help us hear your call to host others, the stranger, the marginalized, the neglected, with our very best selves and our very best portion. And, in doing our very best, open our hearts to all you have promised us – your love and your grace – for those are enough for me. Amen.
—Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ