June 26, 2021
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER
A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
Sometimes even religious people dispute and fight over who should be invited into their communities. Some think only “true” believers belong. Membership has its responsibilities. Some believe the essence of fidelity is to keep the rules, observe the traditions, and avoid the suspicious. Some believe membership has its privileges. There is often the temptation to think exclusively, making sure the supposed unfaithful person is kept at bay.
I am deeply touched by those religious communities who think privilege is a call to be generous. I know a Church in San Francisco which opens its door to everyone. Their Liturgy is a beautiful celebration of song, proclamation, and dance. The entire community dances together in response to the Sacred Readings. They dance to the Altar where they gather to remember, celebrate, believe, and share. The Altar is a Table of welcome set at the front door of the building. Upon entering the building, you hear a voice of welcome in your heart. The atmosphere invites you to pull up a chair and feel at home. You have the feeling someone was waiting for you to show up and bless them with your presence. Your name is mystically, magically, wondrously etched in the wood and stone of the Table.
After the bread is blessed, broken, shared, and savored, the cup of wine is shared across the expanse of the gathered. Feeling refreshed by song, wine, love, and community, the festival is only beginning as the great doors are opened to welcome anyone who might want to join us for a feast. You are invited to come as you are and participate according to your comfort level. The Altar is quickly prepared with food and drink for the poor and lonely from the neighborhood or street. All are welcomed. No one is refused. It is a privilege to serve and a joy to welcome. This Church remembers the Altar of the Church is always the Table of God where all are cherished.
I belong to a Church that prays, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you!” as we break the bread and share the cup. The humble words remind me I am welcomed and cared for no matter the circumstances. As such, I work to share my blessings with others, even those with whom I have significant disagreements.
We all have our unworthiness in common. Only fools think they are perfect. In other words, we are invited to the Table because we are loved and are willing to love. The language of “unworthiness” is the language of love. We are blessed to be in the presence of one another.
It is my blessing and my privilege to welcome you to the Table of God’s love and unbounded generosity. It breaks my heart to think anyone would believe they have a right to restrict the Grace of God from setting a place at the Table for another person.
As children of the Most High, we must strive to be kind to one another with generosity of heart, openness of mind, and gracious hospitality. Thank you, Holy Community, for the generosity of your heart.
As things begin to return to a new normal, we at The Interfaith Peace Project are here for you in any way that you need us. The Antioch Center is now open to fully vaccinated people on Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are vigilant and will adjust to any and all recommendations from the state and county. We will continue our work through Zoom as we add in person programs. If you would like to schedule an in person or Zoom program or would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call. You may call or email Tom at: