Catholics are great sharers.
And it has to be said that we also love a good celebration – with music, decorations and, most certainly, food. Why, nearly every day of the year is a feast or solemnity (which sounds pretty dull but is actually Catholic for a *serious* celebration, IYKWIM). We love us some parties. We choose a Saint’s day to celebrate, then devise a menu, create crafty decorations, choose music and even topical books to read aloud to our children. Then we invite other Catholic families over to the house (or meet at the church hall because of fire code/occupancy issues) and have a really great afternoon.
And every Catholic is familiar with the saying that comes from Luke 24:35, they shall know Him in the breaking of the bread. They shall also know us, His people, in the breaking of the bread. At any given hour, somewhere on this blessed planet there is a Mass being celebrated and The Bread is being broken and shared. We have myriad other scriptural examples of breaking and sharing, most notably the Gospel accounts of the loaves and fishes. Lots of breaking and sharing going on there.
Catholics haven’t cornered the market on getting together and sharing, not by any stretch. Our Protestant worshippers at the Base chapel where I worked for a time would come in before Sunday services laden with casseroles and goodies of all sorts to be shared afterwards. We Catholics have donuts. Donuts, those sweet circles, symbolising eternity – no beginning and no end, powdered, dipped, frosted or be-sprinkled, sometimes filled with fruit or custard. How appropriate to remind us of the Eternal sacrifice of Christ’s passion, and the Eternal life to which we strive. I wonder why it is then that I have noticed at just about every parish I’ve been involved with, no matter whether it was in Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, or even in England that those donuts are invariably cut in half. And while donuts are in fact a bread product, I think it’s carrying the bread-breaking metaphor just a little too far. Don’t you?