Archdiocese of Milwaukee Auxiliary Bishop James Schuermann is the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity guest blogger of a three-part series on Sunday and the Banquet of the Lord. Enjoy Part 1.
It is a privilege to be one of the preachers for our Archdiocesan Lenten Mission on the Gift of Sunday. Preparing for this mission, I wanted to come up with an image about Sunday and the Sunday Mass that would illustrate at least some dimension of what Sunday means for us. The image I decided on was that of a banquet or a feast.
Our God is a generous God. He loves us, and desires the best for us. He is a God, who shares with us many gifts and blessings, including the Gift of Sunday.
We often see the generosity of God reflected in generous people. One example of generosity from my experience happened when I was doing mission work in our archdiocesan sister parish in the Dominican Republic. The parish is called La Parroquia Sagrada Familia, or Holy Family Parish. I spent four years of my priesthood serving the people of that parish. One day, as I was visiting one of the villages of the parish, a woman by the name of Doña Clemencia invited me to supper. When I arrived at her house, she invited me to sit at table under a thatched roof. Then she went into the kitchen, and in a few minutes emerged with a large platter of rice, beans, chicken, plantains, avocados and other good things. When saw the large quantity of food, I thought to myself, “How many people did she invite to this supper?” Then, Doña Clemencia set the platter in front of me, and all of a sudden, I understood. All of this food was for me! Her generosity surprised and moved me deeply.
Our God is generous. He invites us to his banquet. There is room for everyone around the table. God wants to share with us his abundant gifts.
I have another example of generosity from my time in the Dominican Republic. I remember one day visiting a young parishioner in another village of our parish. He showed me around the village and then invited me into the house of his family. He said to me, “You know, this village is very poor, and everyone here has to struggle to earn a living. There are times when we don’t even have food in this house.” So, I asked him, “What do you do when there is no food?” He said, “We go to the neighbors and ask for something to eat.” Then I asked him, “What if they refuse to give you food?” He answered, “Oh, they always give, because they know that the next time, it may be they who will be in need.” (Photo: Community of St. Paul )
Our experiences of need teach us the importance of the generosity of others, and this understanding inspires us to help others in their need. Our God is generous and teaches us to be generous. He invites us to his Banquet to serve us at table, and so teaches us to serve others. (Photo: Jesus and Eucharist, Christ Our Hope Parish, Immaculate Conception Worship Site, Highland Park, IL)
Watch for Part 2!