The Mass Is a Banquet

“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” (John 6:53)
by Father Nicolás Schwizer | Source: Schoenstatt Press Office

 “I am the bread of life,” says the Lord. The symbol for essential food is bread. Christ in the Eucharist offers himself to us as spiritual food for eternal life, therefore, the Mass is considered a banquet. We know that Our Lord said his first Mass at the Last Supper.

The altar, in spite of its ornaments, is fundamentally a table. As at a banquet, tablecloths, bread, water, wine, a cup, a golden plate, candles and flowers are placed on the table. The priest and the faithful know and feel that they are invited to eat flesh which is true food and they are invited to drink blood which is an authentic drink.

At a banquet, logically, you eat, participate and have communion. The table is the place par excellence where family or friends gather. When we want to establish a relationship with someone, when we want to be more closely united to our friends, when we want to celebrate a wedding, or when we want to demonstrate agreement, we eat together.

Also at Mass, the Father of the family, our Heavenly Father, gathers all of his children. He reminds them that they have a common Father who loves them, and that regardless of their weaknesses and sinfulness, they continue being his children and will forever be. He tells them that they can spend the entire week working, wearing themselves out, but the Father waits for them everyday to comfort them and to make them new men and women/ He wants to place in their hearts all the love they need to love each other.

Because we are so poor, we have so little love. In order to love our spouse properly, to love our children, to love our relatives, to love our friends, to love them as they expect us to, we need nothing other than God himself. We need his love in our hearts so that we can love as much as he asks us to.

Knowing that, the Father invites us to sit at his table. He makes himself visible to us in the bread. He gives us his bread – which is his own Son. He acts like a mother who makes herself known and loved by their children through the family meals.

Now, what will we think of the one who refuse to come? What is going on with the one who is bored at the Father’s house and looks for excuses not to spend time with him? What to make of the one who accepts the Father’s invitation but refuses to eat at the table? Unfortunately, there are many who agree to come, but refuse to eat. Perhaps they do not feel like this bread means something to them. They might not trust that this bread gives life. Maybe they are bound by mortal sin and have chosen to remain seated before their empty plate, instead of taking the necessary leap of faith required to live in full communion with Christ.

How a good housewife trembles with such guests! Their self-alienation is enough to make the other guests also lose their appetite. What a sad and lamentable meal would that be where many of the guests would refuse to associate with the others, refusing to share in the joy and the friendship of the rest! Who of us would tolerate such poorly educated persons? Who would dare to celebrate a feast in such circumstances?

In the beginning, the Mass was an authentic banquet, fraternal and loving, where Christ spoke at length with his disciples. There, Christ offered them the best he had: His own flesh which would nourish us, his own blood so we could obtain his own life. The apostles shared communion. What a joy! What fervor they all felt after their first communion!

Upon leaving Mass, we feel so happy and renewed, coming to realize that only God has been able to change us to this extreme. God himself has been present among us and has manifested himself to us. But are we always thankful for having seen the Father and participated at his own table?

Questions for Reflection
1. Do I participate joyfully at the banquet of the Holy Mass?
2. Would I consider going to Mass on a weekday?
3. Do I receive communion every Sunday?

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Translation: Carlos Cantú
Edited by:

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Published by: Fran
Date: 2010-07-02 08:38:47
The Saint Mass is a sacrifice, not a simple banquet!

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