We considered the similarities and differences between dining at Know college and the work of Mother Teresa’s order in Kolkata. Both offer hospitality involving serving and receiving, start with prayer, are communities with a spiritual dimension, discussion and person-to-person interaction takes place. Both have rituals and enable a cross fertilisation of ideas.
The physical context in which both take place is very different – Knox (as portrayed) very old school English, sense of tradition, dressing up to make / reflect / acknowledge a special occasion.
We acknowledged that the incidences and parables in Luke challenged the establish social norms of the times by reversing them – turning them up side down. The rabbi invites Jesus to a meal (why would he do that?), Jesus keeps him waiting by healing someone (not very polite to keep the host waiting), Jesus heals on the Sabbath, Jesus challenges the established seating hierarchy, the rich wont come to the feast so the outcasts of society are invited. The invitation also eludes to the Pharisees ignoring Jesus’s message, which is accepted by those on the edge of society – the blind and lame, etc – i.e. the Gentiles.
We were concerned about the openness of the parable invitation to a meal – it’s not appropriate to invite strangers into one’s home. Perhaps the issue of hospitality could be turned around by asking– ‘Who can I be a neighbour to?’ An immediate response could be assisting the recently arrived Syrian refugees.