Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 Jn 4:7-10
When I lived in northern Japan about thirty years ago, it was not unusual for an unknown person to see me having lunch with another North American friend and to pay for our meal. The waiter or waitress would point the person out to us, (usually a man) and he would smile as we mouthed our thank you to him. It was an amazing experience and quite frankly I didn’t know how to respond. In the city where I lived there were very few white foreign women. I never did more than smile and thank the person.
I have to admit that I haven’t done this for a stranger unless they have approached me for money, in other words I usually have to be asked by the stranger. The other thing that is often true about me is that I get nervous when I am out to eat and I think that a waiter is going to try and seat someone at my table. Now you may ask, “MC has that ever happened to you in the United States?” I would have to answer, “No, but it did in other countries.”
In the readings for May 17th, I am invited to love everyone. In the first reading Peter has just finished having a dream where he is invited to eat from a meal placed before him which has foods which Gentiles eat, but not faithful Jews. He is hesitant to eat, but God directs him to eat all of the food. He wakes from his dream and there before him is Cornelius a Gentile who is to guide him where God wants him. Shortly after this, the Holy Spirit is poured down upon whoever is listening, no matter what table they are sitting at… The Holy Spirit came to all.
As stated above I have a long way to go before I let go of my boundaries that keep strangers from sitting at my lunch table. Yet this reading is not bogged down my small pre-described locations such as a restaurant. It challenges me to realize that I am not some special ambassador of Love’s goodness, but rather I am blessed to share in God’s bounty with all with whom I share everyday life.
I shall try this week to be open to the multiple ways in which God feeds my deepest hungers through encounters with I call “the stranger.”