The table of the Lord

And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me” (Mark 14:18).

Jesus Christ is such a significant man in history that the world marks its centuries in two periods: before the birth of Christ (B.C.) and the time Jesus was living on earth (A.D.) anno Domini; Latin for the year of the Lord. In the United States, there has been a growing trend to use a different representation of time. Since 2005, some textbooks are using BCE/CE, which means ‘Before Common Era and Common Era.’ This change is indicative of a political correctness that wants to remove the history of the Incarnation of Jesus from our lives.

In Pope Benedict XVI’s book titled “Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration,” he writes, “intimate friendship with Jesus is a foundation on which everything depends in Christianity.” Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote in his book “Life of Christ” that Jesus was the only person ever pre-announced. His coming was not unexpected! The Old Testament prophecy and the New Testament fulfillment give reason and history to support this claim.

I have been studying Scripture and the Synoptic Gospels with our young grandchildren. I explained that synoptic meant forming a common summary of a story. During Lent we are reading the sections about the “Plot against Jesus, through the Resurrection and Pentecost” as published in “The Catholic Children’s Bible” from Saint Mary Press, comparing each account from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The 5-year-old commented that he didn’t understand why they weren’t written exactly the same. Then to my amazement, the 4-year-old compared it to their family vacation, where they each saw the same things but described them differently when they shared the experience with others. At that point, I was confident they understood what Synoptic Gospels were all about. We are never too young or too old to learn about the life of Jesus!

I have a unique picture of the Last Supper; the view displays the disciples seated completely around the table. The backdrop is a dark room, and each face at the table is filled with a different emotion. We studied the picture and talked about the significance of the meal, the betrayal of Judas and the obedience of Jesus to God the Father. In our discussion, I began to realize how important it is to share the Teachings of the Church with little ones. They need a foundation to understand how to have a relationship with Jesus. How can we make this a priority in our busy lives? We all make great sacrifices to juggle the practices and commitments on our calendar.

The table of the Lord is a place where grace abounds in the Eucharistic meal, and is a perfect reminder of how to bring family together. The kitchen table is a lonely place these days because we seldom have time for a meal together. This table has many uses, but it is so much more than a place to toss the mail, fold the laundry, do homework or prepare the tax forms.

When family members and friends are gathered around the kitchen table with no view of the television, an iPhone or laptop, an opportunity for real nourishment takes place. The meal may be delicious, but the sharing of conversation is the greatest sustenance of all! Recline at the table with your loved ones and great memories will be shared; after dessert stick around for a board game, take a photo and enjoy the moment! Our children need to know how significant the table in church and in our home is to the foundation of their lives in Jesus! Amen!