Saying Good morning to someone who doesn’t return our greeting can trip our switch from hospitality to hostility in an instant.
Indeed, practicing hospitality can sometimes seem an exercise in self-flagellation. So why do it?
Because it’s good for us all.
The woman who snubbed us in the elevator may go into her morning a little happier because of our warm greeting.
The man who was gruff on the phone may be softer with others.
And we ourselves become more Christlike.
Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB says any time you go out into the world you run the risk of rejection.
“My younger sister and I were walking along the river when we passed an obviously disturbed man,” she says.
“He was insulting everyone who walked by, including us. I acknowledged his presence and smiled at him. Greeting all as Christ means greeting all, period.”
The point is, we are called to love everyone, whether or not we like them or what they do.
“We have to be able to say, I welcome you even though I may not like you or what you say or how you treat me,” Sr. Mary Core says.
“We have to be courageous enough to want what’s best for them.”
And when we can’t quite summon the genuine good will and love required? Or they respond with silence or scorn?
“Whenever I have a negative encounter with someone, I say the Lord’s Prayer for them and me,” Sr. Stefanie says.
“It helps me welcome Jesus Christ in us both.”