From Pauses for Pentecost
When Jesus was at the table with them,
he took bread, gave thanks,
broke it, and began to give it to them.
Have you ever noticed how many times in Luke’s gospel Jesus sits around the table for a meal? He regularly shared meals with others, whether they are Pharisees, sinners and tax collectors, or his disciples. We learn more of what he teaches about his Heavenly parent on these occasions than from what he says in the synagogue. Meals at the table are some of Jesus’s favorite settings for him to make visible to others the good news of God’s mercy and acceptance of all people.
Not surprisingly, it is while they are having a meal around a table with the Stranger they had met on the road that those two Emmaus pilgrims experience the resurrection presence of Jesus. Recall that gospel moment one more time. The two of them have walked several miles. They are tired and hungry. After Jesus joins them, they invite him into their home. There they sit around the table with him. While they are eating, Jesus suddenly becomes the host. He takes bread, gives thanks, breaks it, and gives it to them. In that moment, they recognize him.
Mealtimes around the table can also become resurrection moments for us. These are down-to-Earth, sacred moments when we come together with others, share what is on our hearts, listen to one another, and enjoy a meal. Moments like these keep us in touch with those close to us, renew special friendships, and help strangers feel welcome. These are times of connection and celebration and hospitality. But they are also more than all these things. They also create the needed space for us to experience the risen One, surprising us and touching our lives with his love and care as we eat, drink, and talk with one another.
Next time you sit down together with others for a meal, be expectant and open. It may just be that Jesus makes another resurrection appearance at your table!
When you sit down at the table today to share a meal, keep your inner eyes open for how Christ may be present. If you usually eat alone, invite someone to join you around the table.