Yesterday I wrote a blog on the blessing of having prayer meetings and gatherings especially for those who love alone or abroad.

Perhaps it was prophetic because almost immediately afterwards I got invited to Sunday lunch by a friend who hadn’t even read my blog.

He was visiting his elderly mum in south London and his sister was cooking up a feast for the family!

“A Sunday roast” I thought as I dreamed of my dinner while simultaneously telling myself not to get too excited in case they all turned out to be vegans and we ended up eating mushrooms.

You see I made that mistake before. I’d been in India for 6 months and was utterly sick of rice (sorry Rayne) and so upon arriving in Australia I was so looking forward to a delicious steak and when I jokingly said this to Fr. Dave who collected me from the bus station he quite dryly and dare I say in sensitively relied

“We have a lot of asians in our community and we eat rice most days”!

“Great I thought” and nice to meet you too Fr. Boring!

It was a full week before we were invited to a barbecue and I ate my first steak…heavenly!!!

So going back to yesterday I was a bit like the fox that I spotted out the window, hungry and willing to eat anything!!

That said, I’ve been to Marie’s house once before and the meal was amazing so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be disappointed. It’s when her brother cooks that I get worried.

First thing was first though, had to visit the mammy.

Mammy is now in her 80’s but age disappeared into nothingness as we had a good Irish laugh mainly at the expense of her poor son who brought a south American vibe to the table.

After dinner we discovered that mammy was also a bit of a card shark and behind that kind and gentle face was a pro!

Dinner was amazing, honestly it was so nice to to with a family. Here in London it is quite rare to be invited to people’s houses, unless maybe if you were a priest.

It’s not like Ireland and Australia in that way and although very friendly, most people seem to put in a boundary between their family lives and church life.

The result is that one rarely if ever sits down at a family meal and almost forgets that it exists!

And so seeing a big table set and mum, dad, daughter, uncles, mammy and of course me as the guest really filled my heart with so much joy and because I know them already I was far freer to be my slightly naughty mischievous self rather than the ‘Michael trying to good’ which never really worked anyway (my dad could testify to that!!)

After a delicious meal we had an even more delicious dessert and then we began to play cards.

Perhaps the vegan diet sharpens the ability of the brain or it was divine justice raining down on us because Eddie whom we’d been teasing beat us all…twice!!!

Of course there would have been no dinner at all was it not for Marie and her husband Ray who put so much time and effort into cooking it not to mention the expense of buying it and it did make me think of the endless dinners my own mum cooked us at home and the utter lack of appreciation or gratitude that we had!( Thanks guys, a really super meal and day!!)

The circle of life!

Anyway to all mummy’s out there, if you really want appreciation then do as the bible says and invite a stranger for dinner who has no way of paying you back!!

So all and all, a wonderful day, a wonderful break from the intensity and pressure of ministry and now a wonderful reason to go to the gym and burn off the calories from those roast potatoes!

Blessings to all families!

Michael