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Refreshment of Spirit and Body

November 03, 2019
By Martin Luther

[Abraham said,] "O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant."

GENESIS 18:3

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Refreshment of Spirit and Body

That extraordinary praise of hospitality which appears in the Letter to the Hebrews (13:2) had its origin in this passage. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." There is hospitality wherever the Church is. For the Church, if I may say so, always has a common treasury, inasmuch as it has the command (Matthew 5:42): "Give to him who begs from you." And we must all serve the Church and take care of it, not only by teaching but also by showing kindness and giving assistance, so that at the same time both the spirit and the flesh may find refreshment in the Church. But especially the strangers whose lot is rather hard should be received in a kindly manner, for Christ's utterance on the Last Day against the inhospitable is clear (Matthew 25:35): "I was a foreigner or a stranger and you did not receive Me." Also (Matthew 25:40): "Whatever you did to the least of Mine, you did to Me." What greater praise can there be for this virtue than that those who are hospitable are not receiving a human being but are receiving the Son of God Himself? On the other hand, what is more hideous than inhospitality? By it you shut out from your house, not a human being but the Son of God, who suffered and died for you on the cross.

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