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No Elbows at the Dinner Table

March 29, 2013

Last night at dinner, my mom, daughter Tess, son Canyon and I were eating, and I felt compelled to tell them a story.

My mom had heard the story before. Maybe you have too. But it was new to Tess and Canyon, so I was glad I shared it with them. Now I’m going to share it here.

Earlier I had picked up Canyon from his friends on my way home from work. He was wondering why we were going to Church tonight. I asked him if he knew what Sunday was. He said, “Easter”. I asked him if he knew what tomorrow was. He said, “Good Friday”. I asked him what happened the night before Good Friday. He said, “The Last Supper”. Correct! He was 3 for 3. I was very proud of him.

Now at dinner, I was thinking that if this was our last supper, meaning, if I died tomorrow, I would want to send my kids a really important message to always remember, much like Jesus did with the apostles when He washed their feet and fed them His body and blood at the Last Supper.

I told them I was going to tell them the story of the best and most memorable homily/sermon story I ever heard.

Many, many years ago, Fr. Don Cahill, God bless and rest his soul, was an Associate Pastor at St. Christopher Parish, our home parish. Fr. Cahill told this story that I’ll never forget. Now, I hope my kids won’t, and maybe you won’t either.

—————————————————

There was a man who died and went to heaven. St. Peter was there to escort him to the place that The Lord had prepared for him. But to get there, they had to go through Hell.

When they arrived in Hell, the man was surprised because it wasn’t what he expected. When he got there he noticed there was a large banquet table overflowing with a feast. There was every kind of food imaginable and it looked delicious.

But then the man noticed that all the people at the banquet had no elbows. Their arms were straight. They could not bend them. So, all the people in Hell were tormented, because although there was all this food before them, they could not eat the food because they could not bend their arms to get the food into their mouths.

Then, St. Peter took the man to Heaven.

The man was surprised because when he got there he noticed that it looked just like Hell. There was a large banquet table overflowing with a feast. There was every kind of food imaginable and it looked delicious.

And, like in Hell, the man noticed that all the people at the banquet had no elbows. Their arms were straight. They could not bend them.

But, all the people in Heaven were happy.

Then he noticed why.

Unlike in Hell, the people in Heaven were happily enjoying the feast.

How?

The people still couldn’t bend their arms to feed themselves.

But, the people in Heaven were able to eat the feast because they could pick up the food, extend their straight arms — and were feeding one another!

noelbows

 

—————————————————

I picked up a strawberry from a bowl on our table, and reached out and fed it to my daughter Tess. Then, to my surprise, my son Canyon had picked up a strawberry, and reached out and fed it to me!

Lesson learned.

Coincidentally, my mom shared that she had been reading that same story in a booklet she had been reading earlier in the day, and took it out and read it to us. It was wonderful connection to make that this story came to me after many years on the same day that my mom had just come across it and read it herself. Such is how God reveals His presence to us to connect with us. It was a blessed moment.

Then, we all went to Holy Thursday mass together to relive the story of The Last Supper in remembrance of The Lord as He commanded.

Fortunately for all of us, everyone there had their elbows.

.

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