We know what happens at the table of sacrifice, the altar, in mass: bread and wine are consecrated and become real heavenly food for us in the True Presence, through that fancy word, “transubstantiation.” What happens at your kitchen table? Most likely there is some real food there from time to time; perhaps it’s used to hold a stack of newspapers, or unread magazines. Maybe it’s very presentable and wonderful dinners take place with family and friends! What also happens around the kitchen table is the sharing of life, stories, Bible studies and faith. This impacted me as a youngster, and continues to this day. In fact, my journey into Catholicism took shape largely because of shared meals at the table of well-informed, thoughtful Catholics who loved me with great food, plied me with wine (and fantastic desserts) and shared deeply of their story. Around the kitchen table — as well as the experience of the witnessing the sacrifice of the Mass at the Lord’s Table in at Mass—I learned to drink deeply of Catholic teaching and to hear the invitation of our Lord to become Catholic, and to grow as part of His discipling community.
The topic for this reflection is that of catechesis: the Church has an ongoing essential obligation to form disciples. We learn to sit lovely and longingly at the feet of Jesus; to encounter Him in the sacred scriptures; and to encourage one another. Together we realize our mission: that of inviting others to come to the table of the word and the altar of the unbloody sacrifice. Catechesis means learning not just ideas—about our faith—but deepening our encounter (intellectual, spiritual, soulful) with the living Lord:
CCC 426 “At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father … who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever.” Catechesis aims at putting “people … in communion … with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.” (CT 5) (1698; 513; 260)