Our kitchen table has never been honored by so great a guest as it had last night.
When we asked our good friend and priest Fr. Bill over for dinner this weekend, he offered to bless our new apartment. He had done this for our last place too, and I have to say that having the place claimed for Christ and banishing the devil away did make me sleep sounder. It is good to know that our home is a blessed place, a refuge for us in the world. As an added surprise, he also offered to say Mass in our home. :D I had never had Mass in my house before! How lovely. We set up our kitchen table as the altar:
We began Mass in our little space. As the bread and wine became the body and blood of Jesus right there in our apartment the words of the centurion had newfound meaning for me: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” The readings even spoke our reality: the humility that we are to have, the humility that Jesus has, how guests at a banquet are to conduct themselves, and what true hospitality should look like.
I couldn’t help feeling a little like the travellers on the road to Emmaus who invited in a friend and found Jesus as they broke bread together, just the three of them. Last night, my home felt so near to the sort of hospitality it was made for: to welcome in Jesus. Just as sacraments are meant to, celebrating Mass in our home reminded me and strengthened me in my vocation. Our marriage is a union of love found residing in Jesus. We are meant to invite others into that love, to honor it and celebrate it!
It also strikes me that in welcoming Jesus into our home we were merely emulating his greater welcome to us at the table of heaven’s banquet. Sure, to the eyes of the body our kitchen table was the altar, but to the eyes of faith we were seated around Jesus’ table. The Incarnation is so beautiful that way, that in coming to us in ways we can understand, Jesus transforms us so that we can be with him. How remarkable! (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 460 to get goosebumps. God is so good!).
Was my little kitchen worthy of such a guest? No, certainly not. But was the world worthy of such a guest? No, and Jesus came anyway. He came and stayed with us, and invited us over to his place sometime too. We truly are the poor that Jesus invites into his home to eat at his table who can never repay him (see this week’s Gospel, Lk 14:13-14). May his presence always be found in our home and may we forever be found in his. May we continue to emulate his hospitality of humility and openness to all.
P.S. I leave you with the words of the second reading from Hebrews 12 which to me speak of how God is beyond imagining and yet because of Jesus is still approachable. Yay, Incarnation! Yay Eucharist!
Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
begged that no message be further addressed to them.
No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.