One thing we started recently was family dinners.
Pre-covid, we often got home too late and the boys were too hungry to sit and eat together. Though things still get in the way, we eat as a family a lot more now.
Last night was one of those nights. As my son saw me preparing the table, he exclaimed in delight: “Yay! I love family dinner!” I stooped down and asked, “Why?”
“Well,” he said thoughtfully, “I like you and I like daddy… and I like talking to you around the table.”
I thought a lot about his use of the word “like” in his answer. This same kid often will say he loves me and daddy (always qualifying that he loves God more)… but this time, he decided to use the word “like.”
I think sometimes I forget the power of the word “like” giving it less meaning or power than “love.” But maybe it isn’t less. Maybe I can easily say I “love” everybody, but do I really “like” them enough to sit down at a table and hear their stories and know more about their lives and experiences? Do I like them enough to sit and share a meal?
This Sunday we celebrate Corpus Christi Sunday. We celebrate the gift of Jesus in the bread and the wine that, in the Catholic Tradition, we believe becomes His body and His blood. Every mass, every moment of consecration, we believe that Jesus returns to us, fully present in the Body we eat and the Blood we drink. This is what we celebrate this Sunday… but note we also celebrate the form in which Jesus chose to share Himself with his apostles and, in turn, with us.
He chose to share Himself in the form of a meal. He chose to leave this gift for us so that we might gather together, at first in homes and later in churches throughout the world, to share in a common meal.
It was an act of love. But perhaps it was also an act of like… Jesus, inviting all of us to His table to sit, converse, and get to know each other because he likes us for exactly who we are – messy, imperfect, humans striving to grow in love.
So as many of us are separated still from the Body and Blood, let us be united in growing not only in love but in like for one another – growing together as the one human family Jesus offered His life for.