>Death Row Dinner

>I belong to Net Flix. I had been holding onto movies for weeks at a time. I have recently gotten back into the habit of watching my movie within a day or two of receiving it. Last week, I watched “The Life of David Gale”.

It was not at all what I had expected based on the movie’s description online. It is an ironic story of a man fighting to end the death penalty in Texas; then, he is convicted of a crime that sentenced him to death by lethal injection. Every movie that portrays a person’s journey from prison to the death gurney includes some narrative about the menu of the person’s last meal.

The movies often include a lengthy dialogue exchanged between the person and a spiritual or otherwise caring guide. These conversations have a confessional nature. The person expresses some need for redemption, either from God, a loved one, or the family affected by his/her crime.

Redemption is a real end-of-life issue. Redemption is a real living life issues. However, the need for assurance of pardon and redemption is imminent staring death in the face. Any dying person is concerned about what the future holds and what s/he leaves behind.

In the Catholic tradition, a priest tends to a dying person at their bedside (when possible). The priest hears the person’s confession, assures the person of absolution, and administers the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Extreme Unction. This bedside ritual and sacramental practice offers what each character on death row longs for after their confession.

It is not a steak or a hamburger or a stack of pancakes that the soul desires. The last meal his/her soul longs for is The Last Supper. S/He is searching for pardon and redemption. When are we better reminded of our pardon and redemption than when we partake of the Lord’s Supper?

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