Reflection: Joy and Gratitude This Thanksgiving

Breaking bread together unites us

This is my body, which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” When I was a young boy, these were the words the priest would recite before communion. As I grew older and read the bible, I knew it was Jesus who said those words to his disciples at the Last Supper.

Thanksgiving, the celebration of a good harvest, was passed on to us by the Pilgrims. They celebrated with family, friends and Native Americans, giving thanks to the Lord for the abundance. As I sat at my family’s Thanksgiving table, the words Jesus spoke came to mind. The bread we shared was indeed in remembrance of Jesus. We prayed, ate, laughed and sang, enjoying the warmth and comfort of being together. The good Lord truly was there, and is there every time we break bread.

One day, as I sat in the hospital cafeteria eating lunch with some friends, I noticed a few coworkers who were each dining alone. As I left, I asked one of them to join us the next time he came to eat. This brought a smile to his face, and he did join us the next day. Upon seeing the joy this simple invitation brought to one, I decided to invite all of my coworkers.

They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”
PSALM 145:7

Since then, we have made it a point to have a monthly luncheon in our department. Everyone gets involved, and there’s some friendly competition over who can bring the best entrée, the best side dish, etc. We trade our best recipes and cooking secrets. You can feel the spirit of giving and sharing in the air. We give thanks to God and break bread, together as family and friends.

Just like the Last Supper, Thanksgiving and dinnertime at home, our monthly luncheon brings expressions of spirituality and peace. We share stories from our home lives, discuss how to handle problems with the projects we work on, and find solutions that make the day after our luncheon a better day. Breaking bread together unites, nourishes and strengthens our team. We leave the table knowing the Lord sat with us.

Alex Lopez
CHI St. Luke’s Health
Houston, Texas