The fifth and last dialogue session of Ilkoll Aħwa is taking place on Friday 1st April, with the theme chosen being ‘One family in Malta: kindness in hospitality’ and will be led by Mark Cachia.
Christian hospitality begins with an attitude of gratitude towards a God who welcomes. In the Gospel, apart from being portrayed as a gracious and merciful host, Jesus is also shown as a vulnerable and needy stranger. He both welcomes and needs welcoming.
Hospitality was a distinguishing feature in the early Christian communities, with a particular emphasis welcoming the vulnerable, the poor, and the needy. And Pope Francis is now reminding us that the decision to include or exclude is the defining criterion which determines the type of person we are and the political, social and religious project we are part of.
The image of an enlarged heart or of an all-encompassing circle of compassion will be used to describe the kind of welcoming society envisaged by Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti. Examples of hospitality found in the Bible such as the three “angels” welcomed by Abraham and the arrival of St Paul in Malta remind us that who offers hospitality are not so much providing a service as they are sharing their lives with people.
And whilst the virtue of hospitality can and should be lived by everyone on an individual level and “in private”, all acts of kindness, respect and hospitality have an impact far beyond themselves. In fact, the opposite of a culture of waste and isolation isn’t simply the absence of that violence which leads to this culture. The practice of hospitality builds a counter-cultural narrative which recognizes the “stranger’s” worth and human dignity. Especially when society creates a hostile environment for certain persons, hospitality points to a better way of living together as brothers and sisters, in which there are no “others” or “they”, there are only “us”.
The dialogue session will take place as St Joseph’s Parish, Kalkara at 7pm and will be streamed live on Church.mt and on the Archdiocese of Malta’s Facebook page. For further information kindly contact [email protected].
About Mark Cachia
Mark Cachia is an executive officer at the Justice and Peace Commission within the Archdiocese of Malta. He studied philosophy in Padova and theology in Paris and Madrid where he specialised in Moral Theology. He worked for a number of years at the Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta) and was involved in various social initiatives linked to Catholic Social Teaching, both in Malta and abroad. He joined the Commission as Executive Officer in August 2021.