December 4, 2nd Sunday of Advent

For six years I lived with a priest from Iraq. His hospitality was amazing. Every single morning, he would greet me with gracious words and a friendly tone. “Father, good morning! It’s good to see you, my friend!” He never stopped doing it, even though we lived in the same house for years. It was remarkable, and I never forgot it.

It’s not easy to welcome those we live with, is it? Familiarity, grudges, resentments, fatigue, and distractions gunk up our daily interactions. Saint Paul says in Romans 15:7, “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” How has Christ welcomed us? With mercy, tenderness, joy, and above all, love … not because we deserve it, but “for the glory of God.”

New year challenge: This morning, how did you greet the first three persons you encountered? If you’re like me, it was a bit routine, token, and love-less. I invite you this week to increase the love with which you greet people — especially if you see them every day. Instead of saying, “Hey” try “Good morning, beautiful.” Instead of “Hi” try “It’s really good to see you, how are you?” and so on. Above all, greet them with love. That’s how the Lord welcomes us.

Father John Muir