Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holy Thursday: "We Come To Your Feast"

I went to Our Lady of the Magnificat School in Kinnelon, NJ (class of ’78). I was old for my class because my birthday is in November and you had to be six by September. So, I was seven in the spring of 1971 – a happy first-grader in plaid polyester. One of my most vivid memories of that year, was a particular class when “Father” came to teach us about the Mass. Although we wouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion until 2nd Grade, Sister Patrick Elizabeth wanted us to see the Mass up-close and personal in our very own classroom! I was so excited… Normally, Mass was up on a stage in the auditorium – miles away from little eyes and ears. This was like having tickets on the 50 yard line at the Superbowl!

Fr. Hoffman arrived in his black suit carrying his dress (vestments, I later learned) and a mysterious briefcase. After he told us the names of all the pieces of clothing he was putting on, he opened the case. Inside, there were candles, white linens and the most beautiful cup I’d ever seen. As Father set the table, I knew that what was happening on Sister’s desk was the most wonderful dinner party ever – because he said JESUS was coming!

I never want to forget that day or lose the wonder that little girl felt around that table. Tonight, we set a banquet table for the Lord’s Supper with our finest linen and new beeswax candles. Everything has been lovingly polished and vacuumed, arranged and prepared for this special meal. The schola has practiced and the ministers are prepared. All we have to do now is show up – really be present to the Mystery before us in bread and wine, to embrace the humble service of basin and pitcher. All we have to do is allow ourselves to be changed and graced in this moment. May we each see this table as if for the first time and wonder at the GOD who longs to nourish, satisfy and serve – the GOD who chooses each of us as table companions, who invites all to a dinner party in His honor.

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki