First Reading: 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a

God Cannot Be Outdone!

Who has shown you hospitality lately? How have you shown your appreciation for their goodness?

8 One day Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman; and she persuaded him to eat bread. So it was, that as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat bread. 9 She said to her husband, “See now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God who passes by us continually. 10 Please let’s make a little room on the roof. Let’s set a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp stand for him there. When he comes to us, he can stay there.”

11 One day he came there, and he went to the room and lay there.

14 He said, “What is to be done for her?”

Gehazi answered, “Most certainly she has no son, and her husband is old.”

15 He said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the door.

16 He said, “At this season, when the time comes around, you will embrace a son.”

The story of Elisha and the hospitable Shunammite woman showed that generosity shown comes back to bless the giver. This was not a dynamic principle of the spiritual world, like "karma," but a simple reflection on human nature. The sincerely generous were more apt to freely receive, to share the good of others as they extended a helping hand.

The rich woman first gave meals to the wandering prophet, Elisha; then she prepared him a room to use when he was in the vicinity. In return, God blessed the elderly, barren woman with child, despite her misgivings. As the woman shared her wealth with God's man in his need, so God would share his creative wealth with the woman in her need.

Elisha and his mentor, Elijah, roamed the area known in Jesus' time as Galilee. They prophesied and worked mighty miracles, so their countrymen would return to the Lord. Jesus modeled himself after these two giants of faith. Like these prophets, Jesus wandered the countryside, preaching and healing. At the same time, he depended upon the hospitality and good will of the people he met. Like the Shunammite woman, their reward would be great! For God cannot be outdone!

Plan to show hospitality to a neighbor or acquaintance this week. Extend yourself in the name of Christ.