The Significance Of Sharing A Meal Together
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst’” (John 6:35).
When a new year begins, we challenge ourselves to change old habits with new promises. This article is not about exercising or eating a healthier diet for the next 365 days; it is about our needs for spiritual food and for fully participating in our Catholic faith.
We are living in tough times within the secular world and in the Church. There is plenty of blame to go around for the challenges we are facing. I find the words of the Serenity Prayer to be comforting: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Our ever-changing society is searching for solutions. How do we deal with blame, abandonment, lack of knowledge or ignorance? The concerns in our Church are no different than the battles we encounter in the secular world. The sobering realities of our culture have whispered into spiritual truths. Darkness has been stalking the “Light of Christ” since the beginning of time, and the silence of faithful people allows the dimness. We need encouragement, evangelization, solutions, and lots of prayer! People do have choices, and the answers are in the fullness of TRUTH! When we live out our baptismal call to holiness, the world is a better place.
The Truth of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist is a great gift to us! This spiritual nourishment is a treasured mystery, and the Catholic Church has never wavered in her clarification of the words Jesus shared at the Last Supper. “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’" (Luke 22:19).
The celebration of this “meal” is the foundation for the historical roots of the church instituted by Christ, where the gift of priesthood began. The Last Supper provides a scriptural basis for the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, as Jesus describes how we are to serve one another. When the disciples reclined at table for this last meal before Christ’s crucifixion, they could never have imagined the significance of this event – or that Jesus would become the Passover Lamb of God.
We have better catechesis than at any other time in the history of the Church. We discern truth through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and apostolic succession; so why do only 25 percent of American Catholics attend Mass? Sadly, a 10-year-old Gallup poll states that only 30 percent of Catholics believe in the Real Presence. If these statistics are true, then we live in poverty of truth with a crisis of faith. Again, there is plenty of responsibility to go around; but time would be better served if we break our own old habits and make a new promise to embrace the closest thing to heaven on this side of eternity – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This supreme form of adoration is a mystery that puts us in contact with Divine reality.
In the Mass, we place ourselves into the narrative of the life of Christ. From the entrance processional, to the Liturgy of the Word, to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are sent out with a blessing and a closing hymn, as we encounter the source and summit of Christian life in one hour! The most important promise you can make this year, is to plan a meal together at the table of the Lord with those you love. Jesus tells us that we will never be hungry or thirsty again, and that is TRUTH! Amen!