By Fr. Arturo Aguilar
“Come and eat, the meal is ready!” Who doesn’t have memories of being called to the table with the love and intimacy that comes with a life shared dayto- day? These also were Jesus’ words to His beloved ones after a long night of fishing that yielded no catch. For the third time after being raised from the dead, He revealed Himself in this most intimate and ordinary act, the sharing of a meal. (Jn 21:1-14) Jesus saw the weariness of His followers and came to comfort, nurture and care for them.
An important part of daily life for Columban missionaries is celebrating the Eucharist together.
Sharing a meal brings us into greater unity and fullness of God’s love and reminds us that we are one family united in faith.
Frequently we share our reflections on the readings of the day. On the occasion of this reading of Jesus cooking for His disciples, one of my Columban brothers shared with me that he was struck and moved by the kindness Jesus showed for His friends. It is an image of Jesus that shows His understanding for the need we all have to be loved and nourished in mind, body and soul.
In fact, Jesus shows that same love for all of us. Every time we sit at the table in whatever culture or country we find ourselves, we experience the same generosity and care shown by Jesus to His disciples. From the hands that toiled in and harvested food from the earth to the hands that prepared the meal, the people with whom we sit show the same kindness, care and generosity to us. It doesn’t matter if the meal is a grand, multi-course affair or a simple sharing of bread. What matters is that we share at the table, that we share the banquet of life. We are Eucharist people, that is, a community of believers who in the breaking of bread and sharing of the cup are transformed into the One Body.
It is no coincidence that Jesus chose the most basic and life sustaining acts to demonstrate God’s profound love for us. Sharing a meal brings us into greater unity and fullness of God’s love and reminds us that we are one family united in faith. The next time you are called to the table or the next time you call someone to the table, I invite you to remember that in your meal you are sharing not only the bounty of a harvest, but the abundance of love God has for you and the love to which you are called to share with the world. “Come and eat, the meal is ready!”