Give Us This Day: Always Room at the Table

July 26, 2015 | prayer

My Gospel reflection from today’s Give Us This Day:

I come from a big Irish-Italian family, one where the food was always delicious and plentiful. On any given night, an entire extra family could show up for dinner at our house unannounced, and no one would go hungry. There would be chicken cutlets or pasta in abundance, and probably a batch of freshly made chocolate chip cookies. My mother wanted everyone to feel welcomed and loved. It didn’t matter whether you had an invitation, whether you were a close relative or the high school boyfriend of the resident teenager, whether you wanted a cup of tea or a three-course meal, she would smile and put out another place setting. Or five.

When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.

Jesus manages to give the crowd a feast from almost nothing and still have leftovers. My mother would have been impressed. Another place setting. Or five. Or five thousand. No one goes hungry; no one is turned away.

In this precursor to the Eucharist, Jesus reminds us in the most practical way that he will always make room for us at his table, even when we show up unannounced, even if we arrive empty-handed. He gives us food for the journey, food that never runs out, food that fills us to overflowing.

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