It must be the Filipino in me that loves get-togethers, reunions, feasts and celebrations. It takes the smallest of excuses for Filipinos to get together, feast and celebrate. There are always birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate. Somebody leaves, and we get together for a despedida party. Somebody arrives and there is a bienvenida party. More and more, I see wakes where the food is catered to feed all the people coming together. Even when somebody is confined in a hospital; it becomes a social event, an excuse for people to get together and eat.
It is at such gatherings that the ties that bind us together are formed, created and strengthened. Joys and successes are shared and therefore multiplied and strengthened. Sorrows and adversities are shared and therefore divided and thus made smaller and easier to bear. Food is secondary; but, after a while, preparing food for so many gatherings makes people better cooks and the food becomes more relishing.
This trait in the Filipinos find great resonance in the life and stories of Jesus. He loved to be with people. He relished getting together with them and feasting with them. When He proclaimed the coming Kingdom of God, He likened it to a great banquet. That is why Filipinos loved coming to the table of the Lord.
As the Holy Week starts in earnest, I pray and think about of all people gathering together in love, in friendship and in celebration- among families, among communities, among churches, among countries.