While more formal gatherings have their place, to reduce hospitality to “entertaining” is in fact deeply anti-social. By design, it puts up barriers to intimacy, keeping friends (and even family) at arm’s length from one’s real life and real self. It expresses distrust that others could possibly love me as I am, thus smothering true friendship before it can even take root.
Habits of hospitality, on the other hand, are downright subversive in our culture of independence and calculation. They demonstrate that it is not only possible but fruitful and beautiful to share life in a substantive way outside the confines of the nuclear family. And, in so doing, they point to the reality of the common good, not just as a theoretical concept but as a practical one that can animate an authentic Christian community.