The New Wine Press vol 26 no 1 September 2017 - Page 18

Wine Tasting, continued from page 15 who I am what I am connected to. The outcome of the dish or even the entire meal reflects how we feel inside. Sharing at the dinner table is a unique thing we do and not very often anymore, but when we do it is a place where we pray together and eat together. Meals are shared, secrets are told, laughter is shared, tears are shed, stories are told and dreams become vocal. We experience God’s gifts, love and presence at the dinner table. It is a place of human connection. Let’s look at Jesus’s ministry, he was usually at the table with his disciples and surrounded by food and wine. There are several accounts in the book of Matthew 26:26-27 at the Last Supper where he writes “while they were eat- ing, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and boke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body. And he toke the cup, and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, Drink all of it, this is my body.” Breaking bread together at the dinner table is not only a biblical tradition but an ancient one as well. In ancient time, hospitality was viewed as a moral standard. It included welcoming strangers, neigh- bors, family and friends to your table and home. This usually involved offering them your home and a meal. Coming from an Italian and Croatian culture growing up this meant making people feel at home and sharing God’s love with one another through food. I remem- ber my Mother could cook something up within no time if someone showed up the door unexpectedly and it would be a spectacular homemade Italian meal. But she never complained but it was a part of her existence to nurture that expression of hospitality and Catholic faith. Growing up in this environment has taught me about my own roots and becoming more aware of how important it is to connect them with in relationships. My mother always had a motto that no one ever leaves her house hungry! On the other hand, my fa- ther’s motto was no one ever left thirsty! When grapes were season in the spring we would go down to the city market to buy cases of red and white grapes with my father. We would have to carry all those wooden cases to the basement where my dad made his own wine and vinegar. It was a huge process that the whole family would take part of! After bottling the wine, he would place so many bottles aside to give out our friends and guests. This was his expression of hospital- ity because anytime someone came over he would al- ways offer his homemade wine and grappa! If you were 16 • The New Wine Press • September 2017 Lucia Ferrara and helper in the kitchen at Precious Blood Center lucky enough he would send you with a small bottle to enjoy at home. Although my father was a harsh can- tankerous man he did find within his own spiritualty to give and share his gift of winemaking with others. This was his way of connecting his spirit with others. In my culture, hospitality is a not only an obligation to all those who enter but a practice, skill and a gift. The bible shows us many accounts of hospitality. Jesus surrounded himself by all kinds of people from all walks of life, some were prostitutes, sinners, killer’s, adulterers, etc. He accepted everyone at the table. Just like my family, Jesus ate with no strangers. He made everyone feel welcome and at home. His table always included food and wine. One distinctive account was in the book of Matthew 11:18-19, where he surrounds himself with “notorious sinners.” Jesus ministry was usually at the table with his disciples he always had room at the table. Cooking and spiritualty is important because it brings us together to gather with all walks of life. Just as Jesus did bringing food and wine to the table. By doing so, this bring us to what I like to call is “table fellowship”. In our culture today, we have lost the art of cooking and spirituality because our moral standard has changed as well. Everyone is busy with “things” and we just do not have time to cook a meal and eat together and have “table fellowship.” This art is lost in today’s world and we need to start bringing our cultural traditions back and make breaking bread to- gether a priority. We sustain our bodies and souls with the spirit of food and fellowship. This is what gives up energy to seek the beauty in all of God’s creations. 