The Importance of Sharing a Meal with Others

Eating. It’s a necessity, it’s a daily occurrence, and for some, it’s seen as a task to get out of the way. And to a degree, eating should be treated like a task or a duty. Food and water are the fuels that allow us to live our lives as fully as possible. Skipping meals, eating unhealthily, and overeating are detrimental to our health, both physically and mentally. So, from a utilitarian perspective, eating should be taken seriously.

But there are also benefits to eating that go beyond our physiological needs and ascend into the realm of spiritual needs and nourishment. More specifically, there are spiritual and emotional benefits to sharing a meal with another person or group of people.

As Catholics, it should be immediately apparent why shared meals are so especially significant to us. It is through a shared meal that Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist. It is through that same shared meal that Our Lord also instituted the sacrament of Holy Orders. The Last Supper marked the end of Jesus’ public ministry on earth and the beginning of His passion and death, the greatest act of love ever witnessed by mankind.

Sharing a meal with someone who means something to you is significant because you are partaking in a life-giving activity together. Besides the food being consumed, you are sharing a space, an atmosphere, and your life with the people around you. That’s why a stereotypical date night involves dinner. Enjoying food is a universal experience through which you can grow closer to another.

In many cultures, welcoming someone into your home and eating together is a profoundly intimate experience that signifies an elevation in the relationship and a deep familiarity and vulnerability.

Jesus’s final meal, His final Passover, was one shared with His closest friends. And throughout its duration, He shared with them some vital wisdom upon which our Faith is founded.

“When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, ‘Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’

Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, ‘Surely it is not I, Lord?’

He said in reply, ‘He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.’ (Matthew 26:20-24)


“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’”

Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.’” (Matthew 26:26-29)


“Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.’” (Luke 22:19-20)

This Last Supper was much more than a Passover meal that Jesus celebrated with the Apostles. It’s the historical documentation of the establishment of Holy Orders and the Eucharist, and it marks the culmination of his public ministry. And yet, this moment was not kept from us. Through the Gospel, we can peer into that moment and be recognized as His loved ones, participating in that meal with Him.

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John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at and on the Relevant Radio® app.