Early this year I discovered this interpretation of the story (see attached pdf) from the book Hosting the Stranger: Between Religions (http://books.google.com.au/books/about/ ... edir_esc=y
It raises interesting questions about how we relate to the 'stranger' and addresses the question of hospitality in the broadest sense of the word as being open and receptive toward the unknown, unexpected, or surprising, to not shut oneself away from what is perceived to be strange, different, or foreign.
I find it to be an interesting interpretation and am now curious to explore further how Buddhism might help us understand and cultivate greater hospitality (I will try to start a thread when I have the time). To my knowledge, hospitality has become an important concept not only in interfaith dialogues but also in recent sociopolitical and philosophical debates, as some of the key challenges facing the world today revolve around the issue of on how we might relate to those who seem nothing like us, undeserving of our attention, or even threatening—because they come from some distant lands or lack the proper papers to reside in 'ours'; because they speak an unintelligible language or hold other sets of values; because they adhere to beliefs, dress codes and customs that disrupt our sense of propriety, and so forth. Some of these challenges are, for instance, the detention of asylum seekers and refugees, moral panic directed at migrants, exaggerated fears of terrorist threats 'from within', the upsurge of reactionary nationalism, etc.
Interestingly, the words hostility or hospitality share the same root hostis