by Ken Rolheiser
Home is the cure for a troubled soul

 The air was a balmy 75 degrees, hardly autumn weather. Our dinner guests enjoyed the beautiful day sharing a meal around folding chairs pushed together on our covered patio. The dinner table didn’t look like a magazine picture of Thanksgiving, but we were celebrating this favorite family holiday surrounded by loved ones enjoying all the same delightful foods found at the most traditional of holiday meals.

 Everyone knew they were welcome to invite others who were otherwise going to spend the holiday alone, and before we knew it, our “family” meal grew to include over twenty people. At the grocery store, my friend Connie and I ran into yet another couple that would be alone that Thanksgiving, so we convinced them to join us too. (Author Divine Richie, November 23, 2015).

 Focus on the Family shares the above story of a Mephibosheth Dinner Invitation. King David invited Mephibosheth, a descendant of Saul, to join his table. No other king would invite a potential enemy to join his family dinner. Here David is demonstrating the kind of love that God shows toward us.

 Psychologist Dr. Larry Crab (Focus on the Family) shares the story of a boy who would regularly escape to a neighbour’s house down the street and listen to the table talk from a crawl space. What would have happened if the man had invited him to the dinner table? 
Picture the Master of the house roaring, “Bring my boy some water, and a clean shirt!” That would have changed everything! This is the invitation Jesus extends to us. Picture our heavenly Father: “Bring my daughter some water and a new gown!”

Why does Jesus extend us that invitation? “Now while he was at table in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with the tax collectors and sinners?’ When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.’” (Mathew 9:10-13).

In my parents’ house it was easy to stay faithful to the family beliefs and church traditions that had us going to church on Sunday morning and any other day the opportunity presented itself. I always say that my mother was a great evangelist. Her chicken noodle soup and chicken dinner with pie was always there on Sunday after Mass. Often a lonely neighbour was invited.
Meals were punctuated by saying Grace before and after. The Angelus was prayed at noon, and even today I marvel that my mother’s planning could include this prayer, usually standing, and get us seated to eat before the meal was cold.

Home is the cure for a troubled soul! Dinner invitations to visitors who appeared at the dinner hour were expected. Some few took advantage of it. “Come and have some breakfast,” Jesus said. (John 21:12).

“Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).

“On this mountain, for all peoples, Yahweh Sabbath is preparing a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of succulent food, of well-strained wines.” (Isaiah 25:6).

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