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Bishop Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979) once asked a missionary from one of the islands in the Pacific which was the greatest virtue of the people whom he helped there. 

The missionary answered, “I can tell you their greatest virtue in terms of what they regard as their greatest vice, namely ‘Kai-Po,’ which is the sin of eating alone.” 

According to the missionary, some of the people would go without food for two or three days until they could find someone with whom they could share the blessings of their meal.

Think about that for a minute, the sin of eating alone. So many of us, especially as we age, wind up eating alone. Like the South Pacific Islanders, I think all meals are communal in nature. I don’t think it’s an accident that at the center of the Christian faith there is a table where believers break bread and drink from the cup together. 

It is actually called the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist. Over the years we have referred to it as Holy Communion or simply Communion. Think about the image that word alone brings to mind. 

We gather together to share the blessings of our mutual love for God, to give thanks for our salvation through Christ AND to experience anew the power and presence of the guiding, comforting, strengthening power of the Holy Spirit. And we do so around a table laden with the bread and wine which remind us of God’s love for us.

This table becomes a Holy Meal around which the followers of Jesus gather to commune with God, with Christ, with the Holy Spirit and with each other. This Table is an all you can eat Buffet of God’s Grace that unites us no matter where we are. 

When we gather for the Sacrament of Holy Communion we are all sitting at the Same Table, just in Different Chairs. We are sitting at the exact same Table Jesus sat at during what we call the Last Supper. That night Jesus shared this meal with the disciples. But at the same time, He invited each of us to join them in this Holy Meal of Remembrance. 

This meal transcends time and space. For the only difference is, we’re sitting in Different Chairs. Do try to celebrate today’s Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus by not eating alone. (Mark 14:12-16, 22-26)

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving in November of 1973 I was so fortunate to sit across from Bishop Sheen and another priest as the three of us had dinner together. Bishop Sheen was 80 years old that night. Today I am 80. It was a cherished memory of a lifetime for me.  

Thanks to Billy D. Strayhorn for sharing.   Thanks to Askar Abayev for the picture. 

“The sin of eating alone.”  What does this mean to YOU?


Do share this Sunday Message:  Please listen to my Podcast. 

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