It’s through the Gospel that we come to understand the many challenges Jesus’ disciples faced. But as we explore today, to choose any one thing wholeheartedly does not come without consequences.

When the disciples chose life with Christ, their relationships with family, friends, and acquaintances changed. Many chose to look away, but others chose to welcome them. In today’s reading, Matthew reminds us that to welcome the disciples is to welcome Jesus himself.

As Christians, this is a lesson that guides us everyday. When we open our homes to others, when we act as a good neighbor, when we give to those in need—we are welcoming Jesus himself.

When we extend hospitality, kindness and solidarity to others, we represent God’s love.

As we reflect on this important teaching, we’d like to share with you the inspiring words of Stephanie Summa, a physician’s assistant and former CMMB volunteer in Zambia. Written during her time of service, her reflections remain a timeless reminder that even the smallest gestures of kindness are powerful representations of God’s love:

You see, working at the hospital here can be mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. Yes, there are many success stories of children and adults who come to the hospital and are able to return home for a full recovery.

But, the stories that stick with you are the ones that challenge you the most, the stories of people who don’t recover for a host of reasons—the severity of illness, lack of medications, lack of diagnostic capacity, or lack of intensive care equipment. The other stories that stick with you are the ones about patients who return home but are never the same—patients who leave the hospital with serious deficits.

It is painful to lose lives, or to see someone’s quality of life forever changed because of gaps that exist simply because of where you are.

It can drain you.

But, God knows when you are tired and if you look to Him, He will send people, messages, and circumstances in your life to refresh and revive your spirit. I know this from my own experience. That’s just what He did in bringing Bev, Helene, and spa day!

Sometimes, it’s not just about medicines, lab results, vital signs, and progress. Sometimes, it’s just about listening to someone’s complaints, feeling a gentle touch, seeing a smile, or even getting a pedicure!

Anastasia enjoying her new nail file

Anastasia enjoying her new nail file

I was at the point in my volunteer experience where I needed to be reminded that it is not just the big things that are done with great love, but the small things too.

As Beverly and Helene unpacked their bags of goodies for the residents and caregivers, it re-centered me. You don’t need grand gestures to show love. It was simple acts of kindness – the gift of bars of soap, flip flops, cups, and towels – that made these people so joyful!

Watching the residents smile as their feet were cleaned, nails clipped, and beards trimmed reminded me that even the simple things in life can be done with great love. Doing small things with great love isn’t something we need to travel out of the country to do. Really, we don’t even have to leave the house!

Dr Helene cleans a patients feet in Mwandi, Zambia

Robert enjoying a pedicure from Dr. Helene.

With that, I will deliver my challenge to you. I challenge you to do a simple act of kindness—write a letter, make a special meal, visit a friend, smile at a stranger. At the end of the day, these small actions, when done with love, remind us that we are here to love one another and to be loved in return. After all, these actions renew our spirit and our soul.

Today, we hope that you will join us in accepting Stephanie’s challenge once again. For if we take the moment to look around, we will find there are opportunities all around us to offer hospitality to others.

In grace and peace,

Bruce Wilkinson signature

Bruce Wilkinson

President & CEO, CMMB