SJA Table Talk is a website with fun content to help you prepare for Mass as a family and to encourage faith-based conversations at the dinner table. The goal is to get our families into a rhythm of 2 quality meals per week and 10 minutes of preparation for Mass.
See this week's discussion guide below. Then come back each week. We will be your 'Sous Chef' - finding the best morsels from the internet and Catholic teachings for your family's consumption.
Outline for this weeks Table Talk:
#1 CONVERSATION STARTERS
- Feast Day | St. James the Greater (Monday)
- Pilgrimage | Camino de Santiago - 'the way of St. James'
- Star Wars "Obi-Wan Kenobi's" conversion to Catholism
- PokemonGO is Leading People to Church (sort of :-)
- Movies | Top 10 Classic Movies all Catholics should see
- Music | Top 11 Catholic Artists that will rock your playlist
#2 RECIPES - Commit to 2 quality-time family meals
- Spanish Fare - In honor of St. James the Greater.
#3 PREPARING FOR SUNDAY
- Podcast - Listen to 'Reclaiming Sundays' from Father Riccardo and Ave Maria 'Christ is the Answer'
- Live the Gospel - Gospel: Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer
- Prepare for Sunday - Gospel: A person's life does not consist of possessions
#1 CONVERSATION STARTERS
ST JAMES THE GREATER | Read Full Bio
Saint James the Greater was one of Jesus' first disciples. James was fishing with his father and John the Apostle when Jesus came to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and called for the fisherman, who were unable to catch any fish that day, to dip their nets in the water once again. When the fishermen followed Jesus' instructions, they found their nets full, and after emptying the fish on board, the boats nearly sank from their weight. Later, James was one of only three called by Jesus to witness his Transfiguration. Following Christ's Ascension, James spread the Gospel across Israel and the Roman kingdom as well. He traveled and spread the Word for nearly forty years in Spain. Later, James returned to Jerusalem but was martyred for his faith by King Herod, who decapitated him. Saint James the Greater is known as the first apostle to die. As he was not allowed to be buried following his martyrdom, his remains were taken to Compostela, Spain, by some of his followers, who buried him. In the ninth century his remains were discovered and moved to a tomb in Santiago de Compostela. Today, his remains can still be found in the Cathedral of Santiago.
Because Santiago de Compostela is the most frequently visited place pilgrims migrate to following Rome and Jerusalem, Pope Leo declared it a shrine. Read More>
PILGRIMAGE | Camino de Santiago - The Way of St. James
The Camino de Santiago, Galician: Camiño de Santiago), also known by the English names Way of St. James, and Road to Santiago, is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes, known as pilgrim ways, (most commonly the Camino Francés or French route) to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried.
The pilgrimage to Santiago has never ceased from the time of the discovery of St. James's remains.
The Scallop Shell - Symbol of St. James along the pilgrimage
The scallop shell, often found on the shores in Galicia, has long been the symbol of the Camino de Santiago. The shell is seen on posts and signs along the Camino in order to guide pilgrims along the way. The shell is even more commonly seen on the pilgrims themselves. Wearing a shell denotes that one is a traveler on the Camino de Santiago.
The scallop shell also served practical purposes for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. The shell was the right size for gathering water to drink or for eating out of as a makeshift bowl
MOVIE | The Way (with Martin Sheen)
The Way and The Way is an movie for those seeking uplift. The story involves a California doctor named Tom (Martin Sheen), whose son Daniel dies while attempting to complete the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James), a centuries-old pilgrimage over Spanish mountain country to the Cathedral de Santiago. Daniel was apparently religious. Tom is definitely not. He flies to Spain to identify his son's body, oversees its cremation and decides on the spot to scatter the ashes along the Way that Daniel planned to trek. Daniel (Estevez) appears to him from time to time, in visions or imagination, as Tom rethinks their relationship.
MOVIE | Walking the Camino - Six Ways to Santiago
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago follows various pilgrims, from ages three to 73, as they attempt to cross an entire country on foot - with only a backpack, a pair of boots and an open mind. Driven by an inexplicable calling and a grand sense of adventure, each pilgrim throws themselves heart and soul into their physical trek to Santiago de Compostela, and most importantly, their personal journey to themselves. Whatever their motivation, no one can predict just how their paths will unfold, what personal demons or angels they will face, or what transformations they will undergo by trail's end. Called "A brilliant documentary" by Martin Sheen, this multiple award-winning film has been selling out screenings worldwide.
The Miracle that Led "Obi-Wan Kenobi" to Convert to Catholicism
Sir Alec Guinness is one of the most recognizable actors of the 20th century. While he appeared in lots of films over the years and won many awards, he is best known as having played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. What many people don’t know about him, though, is that at the age of 42 he converted to Catholicsim in part because of a miracle.
New Smartphone Game PokemonGO is Leading People to Church!
On July 6th, a new smartphone game Pokémon GO was released. As an augmented reality game, it has players travel about their real-world communities looking for pokémon and other game items, which appear on their smartphone when they reach certain real-world locations. And it just so happens that the game has been placing a lot of important items near churches!
MOVIES | 10 Classic Movies that all Catholics should see
Once in a while, a film will come along that manages to introduce us to key aspects of faith, allowing us to glimpse timeless truths through the language of cinema. These movies become windows to the essentials; they give color, sound and voice to that which is invisible to the eye, yet is fundamental to understanding the Christian life.
2 of the movies are highlighted below. See the full list here
Of Gods and Men
This film relates the true story of a community of Trappist monks in Algeria, seven of whom were who were assassinated during the Algerian Civil War of 1996. The movie is not an over-sentimentalized tribute to the courage of seven men, nor is it a tale of resignation to unfortunate events. Rather, it is the opposite, a spark of hope that enlightens a world full of hate and violence, and it is precisely because the story of these men is also a call for decisive action, even when this means choosing, for love of God, to trust Him absolutely.
The Tree of Life (with Brad Pitt)
This production by Terrence Malick perhaps has a great defect which is, at the same time, its greatest virtue: an attempt to show - cinematically - an all-encompassing vision of the mystery of Creation, sin and the love of God in the life of man; a mystery that is impossible to depict entirely. The film’s analogous language is perhaps hard to understand, but the beauty of its execution and its thematic depth is undeniable. It is, therefore, a beautiful attempt to show with images the mystery of life, which involves the action of God, man’s response, liberty, suffering, eternal life, among many other topics for our reflection.
MUSIC | 11 Catholic Artists that will rock your world
You don’t hear a lot of Catholic music on the radio these days, but with the rise of the great artists we are featuring today hopefully that will change in the future. Enjoy this diverse list of both established Catholic musicians and a newcomers. These men and women have the gift of being able to lead us in prayer through their music.
Music has always been an important part of our worship during the Mass, but it doesn’t have to stay there! You can listen to these songs in your home, your car, or at the gym. In Colossians 3:16, St. Paul tells us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.., singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Try adding songs to your prayer time. Singing can help us to enter into deeper times of prayer and thanksgiving. (Don’t worry, even if you don’t sound quite as good as some of these artists, God will still hear your prayer.)
#2 RECIPES | Commit to 2 Quality-time Meals
SPANISH CUISINE | In honor of St. James the Greater
Enjoy Spanish Cuisine in honor of St. James and the Spanish pilgrimage - particularly any recipe with scallops - as scallops are a symbol of St. James.
- See - Recipes from Galicia, Spain (the region of Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela)
- See - 26 Scallop Recipes, from Coast Living
Ina Garten’s Coquilles St.-Jacques | See Recipe
Here is an easy version of coquilles St.-Jacques, the classic French preparation of scallops in a creamy sauce, under a crust of bread crumbs and cheese. It comes from Ina Garten, the celebrated cookbook author and television star, who has been cooking it for dinner parties. It makes for a beautiful entree that matches well with a green salad, flinty white wine and good conversation. It can be made the day before serving and heated through in an oven while guests gather. “A lot of dishes taste better after they sit for a while,” Garten said. With its whisper of curry powder in the rich, unctuous sauce, this is one of them.
Galician Style Scallops | See Recipe
Scallops or vieiras are quite typical in Galicia, a coastal region characterized by its remarkable seafood and fish recipes. Galician-style scallops is the most common recipe and it consists of baked scallops with breadcrumbs and sauce. Served as an appetizer or first course, this traditional dish is very popular because of its delicious taste. The recipe is simple, and the result is bound to be a great success, especially for seafood lovers.
Tarta de Santiago | See Recipe
Tarta de Santiago -Santiago cake- is typical of the gastronomy from Galicia that you would read about in your Spanish guide, however it is consumed in the entire country. It's main ingredient is crushed almonds. We don't have much information about the consumption of almonds in Galicia in medieval times, so we don't know exactly when or how it began, but the first documented reference dates back to 1577 when Pedro de Porto Carrero visited University of Santiago. It was a similar recipe but the name was different, it was called torta real, which means royal cake (if you would like to learn Spanish in Spain, we recommend a course abroad).
Paella = The ultimate family food from Spain | See Video Recipe
#3 PREPARING FOR SUNDAY
LISTEN NOW> | If you have lost your vigor for Sunday Mass or if you are trying to inspire your family or friend to go to Mass, this talk on Ave Maria Radio is a must listen.
Early Christians used to define Sunday as “the day we can not not live without”. Because it orientates everything we do. It defines everything we do. This talk is an honest reflection on how one may view Sunday and how we would like to view Sunday. And then it defines a healthy approach to Sunday.
Father Riccardo's pod cast poses several questions:
- What is my approach to Sunday?
- Is Sunday the last day of my weekend, or the first day of my week?
- Is there any difference between my Saturday and my Sunday?
- Could I live without the Eucharist?
- Is there any real rest in my life? LISTEN NOW>
LIVING THE GOSPEL (July 24th)
Abraham pleads with God to save the innocent people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Lord, on the day I cried for help, you answered me.
You were buried with Christ in Baptism and also raised with him.
Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Luke gives more attention to Jesus' teachings on prayer than any other Gospel writer. He also mentions Jesus at prayer more than the others. In today's reading, from the beginning of Chapter 11 of his Gospel, Luke presents the core of Jesus' teaching on prayer. It consists of Jesus teaching a prayer to his disciples, a parable on the persistent neighbor, and assurances that God hears our prayers.
The disciples notice Jesus praying “in a certain place.” They ask him to teach them to pray just as John the Baptist had taught his disciples. Jesus teaches them a simple version of the most famous Christian prayer, the Our Father, or the Lord's Prayer. Matthew's version shows signs of being shaped by public prayer. Luke's version is probably closer to the original form that Jesus taught. Stripped of much of the language we are used to, Luke's version seems simple and direct. We pray that God's name will be recognized as holy and that his rule over all will be established. This is followed by petitions for our needs for bread, for forgiveness, and for deliverance. Luke uses the more theological language of “sins” rather than “debts,” which is used in Matthew's version.
Having taught his disciples a simple, daily prayer, Jesus goes on to reassure them that God answers prayers. First he tells a parable about a persistent neighbor who asks a friend for bread at midnight. The friend is already in bed and has no desire to disturb his family by opening the door. But because the neighbor is persistent, the sleeping man gets up and gives him all that he needs. If a neighbor is willing to help us if we are persistent enough, how could God not respond to our requests?
This teaching concludes with the reminder that if we seek, we will get a response. If a human father, with all his faults, knows how to give good gifts to his children, how much more will our heavenly Father give us? Instead of good gifts, however, Luke substitutes the word Holy Spirit. This foreshadows the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is central to Luke's theology and who will play an important role in the growth of the early Church after Pentecost.
The parable and the concluding teaching in this section should not lead us to think of prayer as a series of requests presented to God. Rather, as Jesus teaches in his model prayer, prayer consists in recognizing God's holiness and his rule over all things.
PAINTING - “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” (Gospel) Albrecht Dürer, Praying Hands, pen-and-ink drawing (c. 1508)
PREPARING FOR SUNDAY (July 31st)
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
There is neither Greek nor Jew, but Christ is all in all.
A person's life does not consist of possessions.
Background on the Gospel Reading
In Chapter 12 of Luke's Gospel, Jesus instructs his disciples and the crowd on how to be ready for the coming judgment. A crowd of many thousands has gathered to hear Jesus. At first he speaks only to the disciples, reminding them that it is not persecution they should fear but the judgment that is coming for all who do not acknowledge the Son of Man. Suddenly a man in the crowd shouts out to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” He seems to have grown tired of Jesus speaking only to the disciples. Jesus offers the man no help. Instead he uses the question to teach what, in light of the coming judgment, life really consist of.
Jesus tells the crowd a parable. A rich man's lands have yielded more crops than expected. His response is not to consider how he might share all the extra food with others but to wonder how he can possibly store it all. He has what he thinks is a brilliant idea: to tear down his present barns and build larger ones. Then he will have many things stored up for years of eating, drinking, and making merry.
“You fool” is God's response to this man because that very night his life will be taken away. To whom will everything belong then, God asks. The rich man's world is small, just him and his possessions, and now he learns that he is to lose his life. What good are his possessions now? Jesus states the moral of the story. This is how it will be for everyone who stores up treasure for himself or herself but is not rich in what matters to God.
Centuries later St. Gregory the Great taught that when we care for the needs of the poor, we are giving them what is theirs, not ours. We are not just performing works of mercy; we are paying a debt of justice. Life does not consist in possessions but in sharing what we possess with others. The goods of the earth have been given to everyone.
PAINTING - “I shall say to myself, ‘Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!’ ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you”! (GOSPEL) Taken from Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen, The Wedding Feast at Cana, c. 1530
*** END OF THIS WEEK'S TABLE TALK ***