On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus's disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?" So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there." So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me." They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, "Surely, not I?" He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born."
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Mark 14:12-26
Since losing my Mom I have thought often about her great joy in having many people around the table and filling them with good food. It made her very happy and we spent many countless hours around our dining room table with family, friends and a few trouble makers too. She appreciated people who appreciated simple, good food, and was not fussy about who joined us at the table. The more the merrier she thought and loved having her family and friends gathered together.
We all know the last supper, depicted in so many works of art, and recalled on Sundays as we share communion. It always depicts the twelve and Jesus alone. I am convinced, by everything said by him before, that there were many more folks around that table, including a couple women like my Mom, enjoying the cooking and taking it all in. No meal is an isolated event but rather a collection of folks who prepare and serve, as well as those who sit down and are served. Jesus invited us to come to a very complicated table, with the goodhearted and the deceitful as well.
Today I ask God to help me enter into the complicated tables of my life with the joy and hopefulness my mother taught me. May we all remember that there is no perfect table, but rather a welcome seat among the poor and lame, the joyful and the sad, the gentle and the cruel. God sits at table with us when we open our hearts to others.