Recently I heard a wonderful testimony from a woman who converted from Judaism to Catholicism. While she was preparing through RCIA, some of her Catholic friends invited her to attend a Eucharistic Procession. As the priest approached her with the monstrance, she panicked, not knowing what to do. A small voice in her head said, “Torah.”
In the synagogue, it is a custom to kiss the Torah with one’s hand when the Torah is being processed; that is, to touch one’s fingers to their lips and then touch the Torah. The woman honored the Blessed Sacrament in the same way, “kissing” the base of the monstrance with her hand. This simple gesture moved her and her friends to tears. In her Jewish faith, this action was a proper way to reverence the word of God given to Moses. In her Catholic faith, this was her way of showing love and reverence to The Word of God – Jesus Christ.
On June 11, we initiated the second Year of the National Eucharistic Revival, the Year of Parish Revival, with Holy Hours and Eucharistic Processions. For many older Catholics, this brought back nostalgic memories of times when such activities were commonplace. While not minimizing the importance of these spiritual activities and other efforts planned during the first year of discernment, the “success” of the Eucharistic Revival also hinges on the family, specifically the family praying together and coming together at the table to share a meal. What better way to be introduced to the reality of the Eucharist as a meal in which Jesus nourishes us with His very Self.
One of my favorite television shows is Blue Bloods, a fictional drama about the Reagans, an intragenerational Irish-Catholic family whose members are involved in various aspects of law enforcement. The family members gather for dinner each Sunday following Mass. This Sunday meal is the focal point of the show and the family’s week. It could be said that there is a sacred commitment to attend this family meal. The young members listen to the wisdom of their elders and ask questions, much akin to Jesus as a young boy among the Jewish elders in the Temple. The use of technology at the Reagans’ table is permissible for urgent police business only.
In a recent article in Our Sunday Visitor, Katie Prejean McGrady enumerates three ways to make the Eucharistic Revival meaningful and accessible for young Catholics: attend Mass as a family, pray and eat together at the dinner table and “keep Jesus as the heart of the home.” Boston College Theology professor Hosffman Ospino concurs, noting, “A lasting revival needs to start in our own homes, at our own table, with others cherishing the value of regularly breaking bread together without distractions.”
Jesus gave Himself to us at a meal. He revealed Himself to the disciples heading to Emmaus in the breaking of the bread. I encourage you to participate in the wonderful activities and events planned by your parishes and dioceses but also to spend quality time at the table with your family, without the distractions of modern technology and social media, even for just one or two meals per week. Perhaps you might also consider inviting to dinner someone who has no one to break bread with.
In the Gospel accounts following the Resurrection, the disciples recognized Him in the breaking of bread and in preparing a meal on the seashore. Jesus still wants to share a meal with us. He invites us to partake in the most Sacred Meal – the Eucharist. God bless you and your families as we strive to grow closer to our Eucharistic Lord.
Sister M. Marcella Louise Wallowicz CSFN
P.S. Remember to check the Eucharistic Revival website: https://www.eucharisticrevival.org/ for the Parish Year Playbook and more resources for the Year of Parish Revival.