Two days ago on Holy Thursday, our parish celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, so my thoughts while reading this chapter are greatly influenced by this beautiful Liturgy. In this chapter, Gray recounts the importance of meals in the ministry of Jesus. Meals, banquets and feasts were often the subject of the parables Jesus told. Gathering at table was a common way Jesus encountered people and invited them to follow his way. As Gray points out in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says of the Last Supper, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you.” Jesus knew he was shortly going to leave his disciples and his friends and at this meal he blesses us with a way he can remain with us. He is present in the Eucharist…Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. But his gift to us does not stop with just the transformation of the bread and wine! By our sharing in the meal, receiving the Eucharist, we are transformed, sharing in his death and resurrection and in his Divine Life! Gathering at the table we become brothers and sisters, members of the Family of God. As Christ was eager to share the passover feast with his disciples, we too, should be eager to receive Him! As we come to the table each Sunday, may we do so with renewed appreciation and enthusiasm. Christ is the Lamb whose blood was shed to lead us from the slavery of sin and death to forgiveness and Eternal Life.
– Deacon Ralph
Rules of table. Feasting. Banquets. Passover. There is a lot to consider from this chapter about Jesus’ Passover and all the appropriate imagery and Old Testament typology that goes with it. But I want to take a moment to bring focus back to something else that the author discussed in chapter 7; the return to God through Jesus, the healing and restoration that Christ brought to the sinners, those who repented and found their way home. It was the Passover of Jesus that brought about the salvation of mankind and opened the gates of heaven. In our celebration of this event – in our ‘remembrance’ we do share in the divine life. We are elevated above and beyond our human nature. That’s an amazing thought. Overwhelming. We share in the divine nature. But we also need to want more – not just elevation but a seat at the table in the heavenly kingdom. When we accept the invitation to share in the Eucharistic meal, do we truly see ourselves as part of the community, as family? And when we leave that table, do we act as such? Food for thought.
– Mary French
Feel free to comment on any of the questions below, those found at the end of this chapter or on this chapter in general.
- What new insights did you gain concerning the Parable of the Prodigal Son?
- Do Christians have a strong sense of expectation and longing for the final eschatological feast—the marriage supper of the Lamb?
- In what ways does this chapter enhance your understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist?