Bread for the World

August 12, 2018

How often do we sit at a table for a meal?  Very often meals are sandwiched in-between activities.  Yet, when a meal is planned, when the time is right, we set a table with great anticipation.  On holidays, special candles and a cloth are set and sometimes flowers are placed on the table.  The joy of everything being set in its place adds to the ambiance of the meal.  If you invited Jesus over for dinner, or if He announced He was coming to your house, as He did with Zacchaeus, what would you do?  Clean?  Put out the best china?  Make sure your family members are on time?  If Jesus was coming, we would prepare very differently.  Yet He does come.  This is the Bread from heaven, given to us.

In the last line of the Gospel He tells us how we are to prepare.  He says, “The bread I give is my flesh for the life of the world”.  This bread is for the world and the table we are to set is to welcome the world.  Like the miracle of the loaves and fishes, all we need is what we have.  He will take it, bless it and break it open to be shared.  Yet, the challenge is the world.  Is our table big enough for the world to be welcomed?  Is our table big enough for individuals of both political parties to be welcomed and not judged?  Is our table ready to welcome the most terrible sinner as equally as the one who spends most time praying the incredible devotions of the church?  Is our table big enough to have the unchurched, the unkempt, and the uneducated to be offered places of dignity?

Is our table big enough?  That is one of the questions of today’s Gospel.  For this Bread of Life is not given to just a few.  This Bread of Life is given for the world.  To eat of this flesh and to drink of this blood is to embrace a world table.  How do we prepare for a feast like this?  We open the doors and let God take over.  This world table is to go beyond the differences that separate us.  This world table is to be the common ground between religions.  This world table is to be the place where those who understand gather with those who do not and do the same thing together, they eat.  It is that simple.  The process of eating unites us.  We all partake in the love of one God who lives forever and ever.

At this world table there is only one thing on the menu: Living Bread.  May we eat of it in the abundance of the love which offered it.  Divinely inspired it is freely offered. At the world table there is always room for everyone.  Can our table say the same?

Reverend John J. Ouper