“And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened, and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
My father worked six days a week, leaving the house at 5:00 am and usually not returning until 5:00 pm or so, albeit, not working all that time. He daily stopped at the local pub for a shot and a pint or two before facing the tribe awaiting him at home. Sunday was different. He still got up early only not for work, but for Sunday Mass. My twin brother, Dave and younger brother Tim and I would tag along with him to 6:30 am Mass. After a week of oatmeal and cream of wheat breakfasts, dad would make bacon and eggs on returning home from Mass for a special Sunday treat. To this day, my favorite meal of the week is Sunday after Mass. Now, it doesn’t happen until around noon, when my brother Dave and I continue the tradition with Sunday Brunch. My brother Tim and dad have passed on. Dave and my routine now, is to gather and begin recounting the different sermons we heard at Mass often leading to a good hour or more of enthusiastic conversation.
This past Sunday, after a year of no whole family gatherings because of COVID-19, about half the family members who normally would join us, gathered for Easter Brunch. The four surviving brothers and their spouses, all who have been vaccinated, along with a sprinkling of the nieces (no nephews or any of their children) celebrated together at Lambs Farm in nearby Libertyville, Illinois “where people grow”. We sat at the table for an hour and half and since that wasn’t enough time sharing, then headed over to one brother’s home, where we sat outside in the beautiful 70 degree weather and continued the sharing into the evening. We reminisced of our lives together up to this point as well as filled each other in on the latest happenings in our lives.
God, thank you for your gifts of sacraments and family both blood and faith families which nourish me and make me think with the apostles: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.