It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among yourselves seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task. (Acts 6:2-3)
In today’s reading from Acts, we hear about a dispute that threatened to destroy the unity and peace of the Jerusalem fellowship of believers. Greek-speaking Jewish converts complained to the apostles about the uneven distribution of food and charitable goods. The text describes their response in establishing a new ministry, that of the deacon.
Biblical commentators see the distinctive call of the deacon as combining word and service, with an emphasis on meeting the very real needs of the poor, of widows and orphans and others, and strengthening the faith of the church. Deacons preach the Gospel, of course, as shown in stories of Stephen and Philip, but their first call is to the ministry of charity.
“Serving at table” is a compelling Eucharistic theme and something all of us are urged to do in imitation of Jesus, who washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. Hosts and hostesses, do it by graciously receiving family, friends, and strangers into their homes. Those who serve the hungry and destitute in soup kitchens, food banks, and clinics practice it on a continuing basis. Advocates for justice and compassion feel its urgency in helping church and society alike to create meaningful ways to address the crushing reality of poverty in our day.
Father Eymard’s encounter with the risen Christ in the sacrament of his love led him to move from the sanctuary into the streets of Paris to serve rag-pickers, alienated youth, and those yearning to know the goodness and mercy of God. Whom are you asked to serve today?
Lord Jesus, you teach us that we are not to live for ourselves but serve others in your name. Strengthen us by the gift of the Eucharist to fulfill your commandment of love. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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