“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” (Prov. 15:17 ESV)
When I was a boy growing up, after church on Sundays, we would always have a delicious Italian dinner. My Nana’s slow cooked sauce was the key. In it were cooked potatoes, chicken, steak, and meatballs. Mounds of spaghetti would also be boiled and dropped into the red sauce. We also had loaves of homemade Italian bread covered in butter. Every now and then there were also big chunks of Provolone cheese. We would all eat, talk, and laugh until both our bellies and hearts were full.
After Mom and Nana passed away my Dad would still make the sauce from time to time and invite me and my brothers over to his little home for a dinner full of fine food and happy memories.
When my Dad died he passed the family recipe on to me and my daughter. We often made the sauce for dinner but for some reason it never tasted quite right. At first I thought we had gotten the recipe wrong but one day I realized what was missing. On that day right before dinner I closed my eyes, opened my heart, and imagined my Dad, Mom, and Nana all sitting at the table around me with smiling faces. Then I placed the pasta on my fork and slowly slid it into my mouth. It tasted perfect just as it always had when I was a boy growing up. The secret ingredient was, of course, what it had always been: Love!
Love is the secret ingredient that makes all of life taste better. Love is the meal that God wants all of us to feast upon. In the book of Proverbs it says: “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” (Prov. 15:17 ESV)
Make all of your meals with love. Fill all of your days with love. Live all of your life with love. Share your love with everyone you meet. Then you will be truly ready for the reunion dinner that awaits you in Heaven.
Joseph J. Mazzella