The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said, ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’
Saying grace before meals, especially before dinner, is a habit for many people. Some prayers are familiar “Bless us, Oh Lord and these your gifts which we are about to receive from your bounty, through Christ, our Lord. Amen”. Others are inspired by Scripture “Make us hunger for justice so that we can give justice to those who hunger”. While others are original “Jesus, you dined with sinners, please come dine with us”.
Saying grace is an acknowledgement of God’s providence, goodness, and generosity. God’s gift of food is intended to nourish the human body for its proper functioning as well as for our enjoyment. For many of us, we are fortunate when it comes to food, having more than enough to eat and the luxury of variety and quality. Like many things, food can be misused or abused which can have unpleasant outcomes, poor health being one of them. It also influences our spiritual health. Food can also be a remedy when appropriate fasting is observed and sharing of food resources to those in need.
We are familiar with the saying “food brings people together”. Physical encounters as Jesus showed time and time again leads to a conversion of heart. Sitting around the dining table and sharing a meal expresses an acceptance of the other’s company regardless of their profile. Before our meals, thanking our Provider and inviting God to join us can also be a time of conversion.
By Fr Hoang Dinh