On the last two Sundays in September my community holds a chicken barbeque at our provincial center. A few years ago, we considered stopping these events. There are fewer SNDs, and the BBQs are a lot of work! However, the deciding factor was that at the BBQs friends, relatives, and coworkers come together for a meal and enjoy reconnecting with the Sisters and one another. That is why this year is our 50th BBQ. It is one of many special meals.
We must eat to live (not live to eat). Yet this bodily need is seasoned with many spiritual meanings. I think of my recent meals. Dining with Sisters one evening strengthened our bonds of friendship as we talked and laughed together while feasting on a prize-winning zucchini pie prepared by one of them. At a luncheon I celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Cleveland Avilas, who pray for and support vocations to the priesthood and religious life. On another day my mother treated my sister and me to a meal at Red Lobster to thank us for our care of her. Sharing meals is a sign of love.
No wonder Jesus chose a meal as the means to unite us to him and one another. Each time we gather for the Eucharist and partake of the blessed bread and wine, our spiritual life is nourished. We have the energy to live as Christians. But at the same time, we enjoy the company of the people who are there at Mass celebrating with us. Our spirits are lifted.
Every good, life-giving meal on earth is a sign of that happy everlasting banquet we will attend in heaven. We have only to answer yes to the RSVP.
What meal or Mass has had special meaning for you?