Mrs. Neo and I saw a most delightful movie recently Ushpizin, which is a modern Israeli Hasidic tale. It takes place during the Feast of Succoth, or the Feast of Booths, when the children of Israel recall the wandering in ‘booths’ or ‘tents’ (Ushpizin is the Aramaic phrase for ‘guests’–thanks Fr. D). The Hasids in Israel make literal mini-houses to celebrate and pray that the Lord sends guests. I won’t spoil it, but it contains so much fodder for theological reflection in regards to prayer (I’d say 50% of the movie is one kind of prayer or another–charming, dramatic, earthy, Jewish prayer!), and is a powerful picture of Jesus words from Luke 6:
Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
My favorite line from the movie: ‘You are nothing. I am nothing. In the end there is only God.’