Keeping Sundays Holy, Vol. 4 ~ A Family Dinner

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Our family is on a mission to keep our Sundays Holy, informed by Scripture and Christian Tradition. In this article, we continue our journey toward God by remembering to share time with our family.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2186, states: Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life.

A Family Dinner.

We are fortunate enough to live near family — 1 set of grandparents and some extended family. At least 3 Sundays per month, we all get together to feast. We share the news of recent days, share stories, and often simply relax together, enjoying the outdoors when picnicking or enjoying Grandma’s story time inside when it is a rainy day. This time has been precious in our lives as we allow children to learn more and more about their family outside of our house. We have been pleased to notice that the children especially look forward to dinner at Grandma’s with as much excitement as a hiking trip or art museum adventure.  

file000521534736What are some practical pointers we have learned?

  • Check the weather the night before your dinner.
  • Check with relatives the night before to decide on a picnic or indoor dinner.
  • Choose an activity or two for smaller children. They are usually okay to play with cousins or one another, but, if weather fails, you want to have some indoor projects available. (Board Games, Coloring Books, Story Books, Colors and Paper, some toys)
  • Make it a feast! It’s Sunday! Everyone should leave satisfied.

How do we make our time with family holy?

Let us recall the Scripture passages:

“My Son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” ~ Proverbs 6:20

“For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother is to be put to death.’” ~ Matthew 15:4

“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” ~ Hebrews 10:25

When we do gather with family on a Sunday for our feast, we can ponder these verses, remembering to honor our relatives and not to stir up anger. This time is not for bringing up quarrels or business matters that concern family. A separate meeting can be arranged for such conversations. This time ought to be kept peaceful and restful for all, a day of charity that sends everyone home as better people, as people wanting to be holy and pleasing to the Lord. In other words, we can ask ourselves, not what we want from the dinner, but “What could I say or do to help my family leave the dinner encouraged and desiring to be better?”

Having an unselfish wish going into a family dinner will allow you and your family to be open to helping one another and to be prepared to sacrifice the self for someone else to have a good time. This attitude minimizes the opportunity for hard feelings or disappointment. Then, like Jesus, we may be open to aiding those who need spiritual guidance ~ especially those in our own family.

“And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” ~ Mark 2:15-17

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