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Return to the Table

With the love we receive and share around the Table of the Lord, we are nourished to go forth to build an authentic human family where no one is left wanting.

Something I do treasure in my heart were the relaxed meals we had back home, during my childhood years. I truly longed for mealtime, then, not just because of the food on the table but mostly because it was a time for us to chat, tell stories, look each other in the eyes, or simply enjoy that inner bonding moment. This image has remained in me as a standing invitation to return home, to the family and to the table.

Such experience has helped me to better understand and appreciate the Eucharist as the Table of Fraternity, Nourishment and Inspiration for Life. Our God is a God of relationship, communication and communion. He did not remain isolated but became one with us as the Bread of Life and for Life. He set the table for His disciples during His Last Supper and, now, He continues to set it for us. A meal is an ancient symbol of friendship, love, and unity. When we accept to sit at the same table and share the same bread in His memory, we share our lives with Him and with one another, celebrating joyfully that oneness which is only possible through His loving Mercy. With the love we receive and share around the Table of the Lord, we are nourished to go forth to build an authentic human family where no one is left wanting (Acts 4:34).

The Eucharist has to become in life what it signifies in celebration. From the Table of the Lord, we are invited to go forth to the fringes of society where the Bread of Life shared becomes the Food of Truth, as we denounce inhumane situations which millions of people are still living in. Jesus, in us, has to become the Food of Justice as we fight unjust structures of exploitation that deprive human beings of their basic rights. He becomes the Food of Mercy and Compassion as we reach out to those who are invisible in our competitive and commercialized society – the homeless, drug addicts, prostitutes. Jesus, in us, becomes the Food of Love as we embrace those who have lost hope and direction in their lives. In us, Jesus becomes the Bread of Reconciliation as we strive to build bridges of understanding and tolerance. At the Table of the Eucharist, we become one family nourished for mission.

The memorial of the Passover of Jesus becomes the source and the summit of the Church’s life and mission. At the Table, we affirm our covenant with the Lord and with one another. With the sacrifice of Jesus, we offer ourselves to become ‘broken bread’ for others and to work for the building of a more just and fraternal world. It does us good to let the challenging words of Jesus to His disciples echo in our hearts and disturb us: “You, yourselves, give them something to eat” (Mt 14:16).

The International Eucharistic Congress, recently held in Cebu, was, certainly, a strong invitation for all to return to the Table of the Lord to experience that oneness and communion among believers, strengthening our love, reverence and deepening our appreciation for the Bread of Life – Jesus. We have been empowered for mission, in the likeness of Jesus, to become “bread broken for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). May dispersion, activism, and our many other concerns not keep us away from the Table. Let us return often to the Table for it is there that we are nourished for mission.

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