Tuesday April 17, 2018

Is there anything more satisfying, dare I say more sacred, to family life than a meal with everyone home to share in it?  Growing up, the only time my family didn’t break bread together was if we had soccer practice – that night was even pretty special – we got to eat those famous TV dinner’s from Banquet.  Two favorites – salisbury steak or the fried chicken.  Least favorite – spaghetti.  Other than that, my family ate together at just about every meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Sunday’s were the best.  After getting home from the early Mass, my Dad would start frying bacon, cooking biscuits, mixing the Tang and would then take the requests from each person there and make your eggs – up to three – anyway you would like them.  Fried – over hard or sunny side up, scrambled, poached, hard boiled, soft boiled and when Grandma Hilbert was there we would add donuts (sold after Sunday Mass at Church) to the meal.  No lunch on Sunday, but Mom would take over for the Sunday evening meal.  They were nothing short of FANTASTIC.  Beef Roast, Pork Roast, Spaghetti with her homemade sauce, fried chicken, just to name a few.  Mom could cook just about anything (with exception of barley soup).  During the summer, she would take care of the side dishes and Dad would bar-b-que – and the man could bar-b-que.  Yes, as good as the food was, it wasn’t just about the food – it was also about the family being together to share that meal.  Again, Sunday’s stood out because many of them were spent with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Once a month, a big cake was made and all the birthdays of the month were celebrated together.  I have tried to carry on that tradition to this day, making Sunday that “sacred” day of the week where we all try to gather together and share that meal with each other.

So where am I going with all of this?  (Downstairs to eat with I’m done with this – too much talk about food and now my stomach is growling!!).  Look at today’s Gospel and you’ll read how important breaking and sharing bread together as a family meant to our Lord.  I’m going to post for you Bishop Barron’s reflection on today’s Gospel – that is what got me to thinking about our family meals…

JOHN 6:30-35
Friends, today’s Gospel is from the bread of life discourse: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” What God has wanted from the beginning is to sit down with his creatures in a fellowship banquet, sharing life and laughter, giving, receiving, and giving back again.

This is the loop of grace. The more we receive the divine life, the more we should give it away and thereby get more of it.

Throughout the Old Testament, we find images of the holy banquet. On God’s holy mountain, Isaiah says there will be good meats and pure choice wines. And throughout his ministry, Jesus hosts meals to which all are invited. God wants to share his life with us.

This comes to fullest expression at the Eucharist, where Jesus identifies himself so radically with the bread and the wine that they change into his Body and Blood, and then invites all of us around this table to feast and share life, to give and to receive and to give again.

 

My other favorite part of Sunday that I didn’t mention above was going to Mass at St. Blaise.  We had a great group of priests leading the flock and we had a great group of people who were part of that flock.  I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t go to Mass on Sunday’s growing up.  Now that I’m a music director, I attend 4 masses a weekend (as a minimum) and sometimes more depending on weddings and funerals.  Let me digress for a brief second here to any of those who might be raising an eyebrow at me right now.  My wife (who is by my side for all of these Masses as my cantor) and I know fully well the rules and guidelines of Holy Mother Church and only receive communion once on any given weekend.   Back to my point – and Fr. Barron’s – Sunday Mass is a gathering of our parish family and is something that we should all be excited about attending every week.  Great stories are shared, prayers are offered, beautiful hymns are sung and most importantly – a SACRED meal is shared.  This is a tradition every man, woman and child; every race, color and creed should not only want BUT DESIRE to participate in.  This meal, this Mass, this Tradition is so vitally important that our God commanded us to participate in this every week.  Again, let us all repeat our commitment that I will ALWAYS keep HOLY the Sabbath.  Always.  All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.  God has offered you the invitation, no need to RSVP – your place at the table will always be set and ready for you.  Do you know someone who has been absent from the meal?  If you do, if you know someone in your family – paternal or parish – who hasn’t been coming to the feast, invite them back.  In the words of Christ our Savior…

“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Continuing on with the next gift of the Holy Spirit – Fortitude.  What is fortitude?  Again, here is the definition from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary.

Today’s reflection to read and contemplate comes from another blog – MaryMajor.  Please take the time to read and reflect – just as our previous three – to see how these gifts are part of your life.  The more I read about these gifts, the more thankful I am that I was given the sacrament of Confirmation.  I don’t know that I fully understood what that sacrament was when I received it back in 1976. I don’t know that I fully understand it now.  What I do know is that the more I study these gifts, the more I come to appreciate them and how they can affect my life and how using these gifts, I can affect others.

Do something great for our Lord today.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid.

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

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