Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’* They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.* While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. – Luke 24.35-42
Jesus eating, Jesus gathered with his disciples, Jesus offering the gift of his peace and the gift of himself again and again. It is a reminder of something most of us do each day and yet something we may take for granted. Each day we gather for meal and eat and each day we offer ourselves, not in the fullest way like Christ (and yet his offering of himself reminds us that we too must offer our all) but still we give of who we are in our time and place.
Jesus eating really stands out for me, maybe its because this week alone I have eaten with my community, with family, friends, relatives, in a restaurant, in a car, in a hotel, on the go, early, late, good food, fast food, home-cooked and shared meals. Let’s just say there has been variety. In all of this what came to mind is to be present with whomever we eat with just as Jesus was present to his disciples.
If we dine by ourselves – be appreciative of moments to ponder and reflect on the journey, the gifts we offer and the gift of food.
If we gather with family and friends – be grateful for the gift of loved ones and the joy of breaking bread together.
If we eat on the go – be thankful for life, energy and strength to accomplish tasks great and small.
If we eat in a restaurant – be aware of those who serve, those who grow and cook and bring our food to our tables and those who can not afford a meal.
If we start early with a bite or end a full day with bite – be attentive in these moments that we dine with God – who is present to us, who offers us peace because of the gift of Christ Risen.
When we gather as believers for the Eucharist and are nourished by the Bread of Life let us remember that this is true food for the journey which enables us to be vessels of peace and hope no matter where we eat.
today and each day we give you thanks
for the food that nourishes us and reminds us
that you are present in the breaking of the bread
in each meal we share in
and in the life-sustaining gift of the Eucharist.