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Invited to a meal - Come to the table! (4)

When the hostess appears at the door of the living room and invites us to come to the table, we accept graciously. This is an important time that enables us to bond with family and friends. The dining room table has always been a special, even a sacred place, around which families share common aspirations, small talk, and the ordinary daily occurrences. We discuss good times and express our sorrow. We enjoy our successes and console each other over unfortunate circumstances.

At Mass, we refer to the altar as the table on which we place the bread and the wine at the Consecration. We begin the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The simplest way to understand the meaning of this profound mystery is to listen to the prayer that the priest pronounces when he takes the bread between his hands. Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer. Bread has always been considered the essential nourishment for life. We say that we earn our daily bread. In one of the most significant means that our liturgy keeps is to thank God, the author of our lives, we thank him for our bread.

The priest continues…which earth has given and human hands have made. In order for the earth to give us bread the soil must be fertile and enriched by rain and the rays of the sun. Our hands are actively involved in the whole process of growing grain and making bread. The priest continues and offers the bread to God the Father. This bread includes all the energy in the world, and all human activities however small they may be. The prayer over the bread continues. It will become the bread of life. Our lives are contained in this fragile piece of bread. Let’s unite in faith with this prayer, which continues the Father’s love, the Son’s mission and the fullness of the love of the Holy Spirit in the world.

Ghislaine Salvail, sjsh
Translated by Honore Kerwin-Borrelli


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