Have you noticed that we use WELCOME in two seemingly different ways?
Sometimes WELCOME is what we offer to guests and other times WELCOME is what we offer in response to a “thank you”. The first, which is very much in the Benedictine hallmark of hospitality, will not be our immediate focus. Rather, let us look at the WELCOME we express following a display of gratitude.
When we’ve done a kindness to someone, a thank you, spoken or written, often follows and we respond with you’re welcome. Or welcome. Or that’s okay. Or no biggie. Or de nada. (I use this one to show off my Spanish skills when I want to say it was nothing.) Whatever the response, WELCOME brings full circle the goodness that we share with each other. The kindness and the thanks is acknowledged with WELCOME. It is a signal that you accept the expression of appreciation.
Jesus expresses WELCOME in a most fantastic way in the account of the healing of the ten men with leprosy. We all know this story. It is often told at Thanksgiving time to remind us that saying thank you is important. Ten were cured and only one came back to thank Jesus. It is a great lesson for us to learn. We must be thankful and express our thanks — but it is also a lesson in WELCOME. Look at what Jesus does. He acknowledges the thankful man in the most amazing way! Rather than just saying WELCOME Jesus says, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
In a beautiful and profound way, Jesus equates being thankful with faith. And in his WELCOME, Jesus brings a “thank you” full circle back to another act of goodness and brings WELCOME to an act of hospitality. Jesus invites the man to fullness!
So, this Thanksgiving take time to express your thanks to God for all the blessings you receive, then show God and tell God that you are thankful. And…don’t forget to wait for your WELCOME!