26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” 27 He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven.”
No other event creates family quite like that of sharing a meal. In all parts of the globe, sharing a meal is a sacred act that welcomes strangers, neighbors, friends, and family. Regardless of cultures, races and faiths, enjoying a meal together means more than just sustenance. It means building and strengthening relationships and sharing life’s situations together. For me, being lost in conversation around a busy and crowded table is a thought that creates great joy. How many of us wouldn’t welcome that opportunity right now?
The retelling of the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples reminds me of that noisy, eventful family dinner. That’s why it is one of my favorite parts of the New Testament. What I also noticed today was that Jesus’ disciples were so much like family –like brothers– that they had already begun eating when Jesus spoke these words. Perhaps the disciples were already celebrating and enjoying the bonds of brotherhood when Jesus stopped them, gently bringing them back to the meaning of his presence among them. Jesus then spoke of that lasting legacy that their witness and discipleship would mean for the world.
Jesus symbolically offered himself as the new covenant–the new way to life! Therefore, this last meal wasn’t just a way for the disciples to celebrate the bonds of their own brotherhood. Jesus showed them it would be their way, and ours, for all believers to celebrate their connection to the Living Lord. Jesus showed that beyond our human understanding –across miles, languages and millenia– sharing in the Lord’s Supper would connect us all as family and the body of Christ, forever. These bonds remain as Jesus’ legacy, a legacy that surpasses all understanding and creates a brand new family in Christ.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
What are your family memories of the dinner table? While each dinner table and experience is unique, how does your dinner table reflect your connection to our Lord’s sacraments? How are mealtime bonds stretched to embrace those beyond the members of your immediate family?
Prayer: For joy and plenty, health and power, I thank You, Lord, every hour. Amen. (This is my family’s table blessing. – B)