By Alyssa Bormes
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother. ~ Mt 2:1-12
You know how sometimes you drop a small pot of hot chili, and it not only hits the floor, but also the front of the cabinets, your clothing, the walls, and even the ceiling has beef, beans, and the gravy part on it? Then you know how you look at it with a mix of wonderment and horror? And remember how you finally decide to clean from the floor up, so you don’t further track the mess, but when you adjust your feet to begin bending down, you realize that you have stepped in the slippery mess. You begin to do the splits and have to drop the little that you have cleaned in order to catch yourself to keep from falling in to the beef and bean disaster?
And just when you think it can’t get worse, you know how you hear your doorbell ring because your guest, McKaela, has arrived, and you want to pretend that you aren’t home, so she doesn’t see the mess, but you also see the beef and beans on the ceiling, and you know that McKaela is 30 years younger than you, and her parents taught her the importance of helping without complaint, and you know that she will not only climb the ladder to get the beef and beans off the ceiling but also will get on her hands and knees to scrub the floor? Then remember how you must carefully remove your beef and bean coated slippers, find clean floor to walk to the door, and welcome your guest, and then McKaela sees with that same wonderment and horror the mess she has to clean? Yeah—that happened to me too.
Sometimes being a hostess comes at the strangest times, but my mom, Karol June, taught me to just welcome the guests. Our college friends loved to come home with us; they never knew what wonderment would come to them as Karol would put them to work. They also knew that once Karol cooked for them, they would do anything for her.
Perhaps it is no wonder that Karol’s favorite saint was Mary, who was amazing when it came to accepting guests, even to the borrowed stable in Bethlehem. Mary had just shortly given birth, when there was a knock at the door, or the cave, or whatever it was; the shepherds arrived. Imagine the surprise to Mary and Joseph, but also imagine the surprise to the shepherds. It doesn’t seem that shepherds were normally invited anywhere, but to be not just invited, but heralded to the stable to see the Christ Child—what wonderment! Later, Mary and Joseph would welcome kings to their humble dwelling—kings are used to palaces. Mary didn’t mind her surroundings; royalty could come in as well.
Mary, the Mother of God, welcomed the most unexpected guests at the most unexpected times. Karol June taught me to do the same. No guest is coming to judge you for the beef and beans on the ceiling. Instead, they are coming for the same reason as the shepherds and Magi did; to meet Christ in your home.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you …
Call to Action
Contemplate who you have welcomed into your home in the past year and who you might invite in the year to come.
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