The Table. The Sacred Place in Your Home and in Your Church.

Family table

Whether we realize it or not, there is a sacred, holy place in every one of our homes: the dinner table.

It is the one place where we are family together. Around the family table, we experience God’s greatest blessings: the gift of our lives and the gifts of the earth that sustain our lives.

The family table is a pretty level playing field: everyone matters, everyone’s joys are celebrated, everyone’s problems and hurts become the concern of all. At our family table, we are always welcome, no matter what we have done or how the others feel about us at the moment.

The family table is the place where decisions are made, problems are confronted, lessons are learned.

At the family table, we hear the stories and history of our family. We learn where we came from, who and what our relatives were like, and we discover who we are.

To be welcomed to another family’s table is a special invitation that is not extended to everyone. It is one thing to go out to a restaurant with some associates, but we normally invite only our close and cherished friends to our table.

Your family table, whether in a formal dining room or a crowded kitchen, is more than just a piece of furniture in a room. It is the table of the domestic church – the family. It is the place where God makes known His presence in your midst. In the food that is shared. In the unspoken word of welcome to all who sit around it. In the healing and support and forgiveness found there.

In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus calls Himself “The Bread of Life.” In doing so, He invites us to “feast” on the compassion and forgiveness of God. To satisfy our thirst for meaning in our lives by “drinking” from the waters of gratitude and selflessness.

Eating and drinking at the “Table of the Lord” is what we, as Catholics, do at Mass. It is the table of our family of faith. If you think about it, everything that happens at the family table in your home happens at the “Table of the Lord.” It is from that table, which we call the altar, that we are invited, in the words of Saint Augustine, “To worthily become what we worthily receive,” the Body of Christ for the world.

This week I used the image of the family table with parents of our second graders who gathered for a Parent Meeting to reflect on the meaning of the Eucharist in their lives. They have begun the formal preparation of their children for the reception of First Holy Communion in May. This formal preparation is taking place in parishes everywhere.

Pray for these families as they anticipate the day they will bring their child to the “Table of the Lord” for the first time. Pray too that their homes, as well as your own home, will be places where the love and life of God dwell for all!

Question – Take a few minutes to compare the “Table of the Lord” at your parish church with your family table. What similarities in the meals eaten at these two tables came to mind?

January 15th, 2014 |