Our presence at table

In the gospel of Luke, what is the most important city? If the number of times mentioned is the criteria, then Jerusalem is the answer, being mentioned more than 90 times in the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles. I imagine there are all kinds of “what is Luke’s favorite…” questions, but an insightful one come from Fr. Bill McConville OFM. Fr. Bill has a daily podcast on Soundcloud that you can subscribe to and be very much enlightened by his insights:  So… what is Luke’s favorite piece of furniture? 

The dining room table. Throughout the Gospel, Luke’s narrative features Jesus at table. At table with the high born and low, with the Pharisees and the sinners, with the socially connected and the socially outcast – all manner of people. Death and Resurrection does not discontinue meeting Jesus as the table setting – consider the account on the Road to EmmausAnd it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (Luke 24:30-31)

Perhaps pointedly so in this time of pandemic, we should consider the importance that we place on presence at the table. The pandemic makes us no less busy and in fact may have already increased the amount of time together as people work from home, children are virtually at school, and more. Does the family still gather at the table? Is there blessing, not just in the formal prayer of blessing, but is the conversation edifying, constructive, hopeful, help to build relationships, and continue the fellowship of the gathering.

The table was likely Jesus’ favorite piece of furniture. It was a place where people could encounter the person and fellowship of Jesus. Do our tables provide the same gateway?

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