|Better a Dish of Herbs with Love|
|In Jesus’ time, a conscientious Israelite would never eat at the same table with a tax collector or a Samaritan. Sharing bread at the table was a sign of harmony in life and faith. At the Last Supper, Jesus did not have to teach his Apostles the importance of sharing a meal as a way of sharing faith.If your kids don’t experience a meal where the family can talk and share ideas and faith—as well as food—it will be much more difficult for them to appreciate the Eucharist as a sharing in the One Body of Christ.
When Jesus gathered with his friends in the upper room to celebrate the Passover, they talked a lot. They remembered the Exodus when God freed his people from slavery. Jesus spoke of his own Passover from this world to that of the Father, and of the freedom from sin and death that this would bring. He told the Apostles how much he loved them and that he would always be with them.
At the best meals, a family also remembers and tells stories. Family members talk about everyday things like what happened to Aunt Marge, what the boss said today, and discuss events that are coming up.
These meals nurture the spirit because they help everyone in a family remember good times and places shared together. The secret to preparing such family meals is simple:How you eat is more important than what you eat. As an old proverb says, “Better a dish of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it” (Proverbs 15:17). Here are some suggestions for your own family meals:
|Healing Family First|
|Jesus told us to patch up our conflicts before coming to the Eucharist. He knew that quarrels, tension, and anger are a vicious cycle until we find forgiveness. Here are some ways to invite forgiveness and peace into your home, and to help teach your children how to do it better when it’s their turn.
|Our Daily Bread|
|Prepare your hearts as well as your home for the celebration of your child’s First Eucharist with a special family prayer. This prayer is designed to heighten your family’s awareness of Eucharist in daily life. It should help you focus on:
Make a number of “loaves of bread” cut from white or brown construction paper, or a brown grocery bag. Place a small bread basket or bread plate on your dining table. Keep it there from now until the time of your child’s First Eucharist. Place the bread shapes and pencils beside the basket or plate.Every evening before dinner-or once a week if that works better for your family-invite family members to write on the paper bread loaves three types of things to be included in your prayer:
Help younger ones write or draw their prayers. Then take turns reading or showing your items for prayer. After each petition, have all respond, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Place each paper loaf in the bread basket or on the bread plate.
|What Does It Cost?|
|In a department store the other day, I overheard a young boy, about eight, obviously shopping with his mother for a gift. “What about this?” he asked, pointing to a cozy looking red flannel. “It’s just the kind of shirt Grandpa likes to wear.”“Nice job, kid,” I thought to myself. But his mother blurted out something like, “Oh, that’s ugly! We’re not getting that.” I felt sorry for the boy. What a put-down! I doubt that his mom even realized what she’d done.
Most people do not see themselves as others do—or as their children do. This mom was speaking her own mind without realizing that she was teaching her child a lesson she did not intend: “Be cautious, son, if you’re going to share your ideas with me in the future, you could get hurt.”
Good communication in a family is the key to emotionally healthy kids. Just as parents have to share feelings to satisfy a human need to be close to someone (usually a spouse), so do kids. They need to feel that a parent actually enjoys spending time with them, to talk and do things together.