Charlottesville's Catholic Worker community

Christian Hospitality

A most excellent resource for understanding Christian hospitality is the book Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine D. Pohl (Eerdmans, 1999). We highly recommend it as a means of preparing to provide hospitality in a household, intentional community, or congregation.

“As a way of life, an act of love, an expression of faith, our hospitality reflects and anticipates God’s welcome. Simultaneously costly and wonderfully rewarding, hospitality often involves small deaths and little resurrections. By God’s grace we can grow more willing, more eager, to open the door to a needy neighbor, a weary sister or brother, a stranger in distress.” (MR, 187)

Links to a summary of the book, and a study guide for small groups.

“The practice of hospitality forces abstract commitments to loving the neighbor, stranger, and enemy into practical and personal expressions of respect and care for actual neighbors, strangers, and enemies…Claims of loving all humankind, of welcoming ‘the other’ have to be accompanied by the hard work of actually welcoming a human being into a real place.” (MR, 75)

Hospitality as understood in the Christian scriptures

  • Matthew 25: 31-46 “when did we see you a stranger and welcome you?…”
  • Luke 14:12-14  “when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the blind…”
  • Romans 12:13 and 15:7
  • Hebrews 13:2, 1 Peter 4:9

Writing in the 4th century, St. John Chrysostom urged his parishioners, “Every family should have a room where Christ is welcome in the person of the hungry and thirsty stranger.”

Consider these examples of Christ Rooms

“When we succeed in persuading our readers to take the homeless into their homes… then we will be known as Christians because of the way we love one another.”-Dorothy Day