The title of these scriptural reflections, “Soul Food for Sundays”, dominated my thoughts as I pondered on the readings while preparing this reflection. Jesus asks, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’(Lk 24:41). The risen Lord eats in the company of his disciples. Another, yet not so prominent, example of table fellowship.
I hail from a catering family. I smile as I remember my late mother who regularly in the middle of lunch would ask, “What do you want me to prepare for your tea?” The joy we had as a family in sharing and devouring her culinary delights and the banter that went with these experiences will forever live in my memory.
For the last two decades and more I have shared similar meals in my Spiritan place of work, Rockwell College. In recent weeks, Garrett Sheehan, one of the three chefs who diligently prepared these meals, passed away after a short illness. He quietly went about his daily toil making sure that all who sat down in the refectories, be they pupils, staff or guests, got enough to eat and were satisfied. Beef Bourguignon, usually served on Wednesdays, was one of his specialties and a delight to taste! He was a true witness in our community, a place he called his second home, by his loving actions.
There was a first experience for me, in these Covid times, of a “Zoom Irish Wake” which his family in Kanturk, Co. Cork requested, with a number of Rockwell staff who had worked with him for twenty-two years. We exchanged stories of his life which brought laughter and tears, “joy and wonder” (Lk 24:41), yet was poignant when his sister revealed that he had a rosary ring on his finger while on his hospital bed in CUH. Garrett was preparing for his death by “repenting, turning to God so that He will forgive his sins”(Acts 3:19). The Church community continues the mission of Jesus encouraging us to conversion and believing in the Good News.
This was closure for us as we finished the wake with prayers echoing from the Book of Revelation 14:13,
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ Blessed indeed” says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them.”
The resurrected Jesus broke bread with his disciples. Garrett as a generous host, prepared, served and shared in table fellowship in the Rockwell community. May he now share in the promise of eternal life dining in the banquet of heaven.