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Seek the Lord for June 2023

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Memorial Day celebrations mark the unofficial beginning of summer throughout our country. By this point most schools have finished the academic year, and people are once again flocking to parks and swimming pools to enjoy the nice weather. And, whether it’s enjoying a snack on a hike, a burger at a cookout, or a marshmallow roasted over a campfire, food plays an important role in our enjoyment of summer.

In His goodness, God provides us with food for the physical nourishment of our bodies. We give God thanks in prayer before meals in recognition of the mystery of creation by which we have been given the gifts of crops and livestock. We also show gratitude and ask for blessings on all involved in the production, procurement and preparation of our food. Our daily bread comes from the Lord, and we thank Him for all that goes into it arriving at our tables.

It is important for us to recall that Jesus said to His disciples, “One does not live by bread alone” (Mt. 4:4). He was teaching His followers that, as human beings created in God’s image and likeness, we are much more than physical bodies in need of sustenance from food. Having both a body and a soul, we also need to be nourished by the Word of God and the Sacraments so our spirit may be replenished. These two things are not totally distinct from one another, however. A meal enjoyed in the company of others, whether with family or friends, creates the opportunity for both physical and spiritual nourishment.

When we gather around a table and share a meal, we have the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, share our hopes and dreams and learn from one another. It is a privileged time to hear another’s experiences and to offer our concern, encouragement and support. Families have the chance to retreat from the busyness of life and take in the goodness of those around them. Parents can hear what is on their children’s minds and in their hearts and offer their own insights of lived experience in return. All such encounters form us in our humanity because they go deeper than our physical selves and open the depths of our spirits.

These days, though, we risk losing such moments. Because of commitments with work, school and extracurriculars, busy families join together for a meal less and less often. Even more distressing are the times when we see people more focused on a phone in their hands than on the person across the table. We must work to safeguard moments of authentic human connectedness as they can truly strengthen us in both body and soul. We need each other and would be well-served to resist the many forces in our society which, while claiming to make it easier to communicate with one another, actually weaken our relationships.

This summer, let us take advantage of the opportunities to be together with others, not in a superficial way, but rather as experiences of learning, growth and love. The meals we share are one time to do this, but there are many other moments this season affords us as well. May God bless all of you with a safe and fruitful summer season marked with many such encounters to flourish both in body and spirit.

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