Who are the friends who attend such a ‘Feast of the Feasts’?
They are mainly people who live on the street (homeless people, refugees with no shelter, street kids, beggars) along with poor immigrants, gypsies, lonely elderly people, HIV/AIDS patients, people affected by leprosy, people with mental health conditions, prisoners, from many places in the world.
A number of common people gather around the poor too: they look for the very meaning of Christmas, which sometimes becomes a senseless ritual; they want to lend a hand; they want to help collect what is needed for the feast, prepare lunch, and wait at table.
Different ages, various languages, diverse traditions and religions: they are not only Christians but Jews and Muslims as well. It’s a great boundless people. This is today the Community in the World and on that feast it lives a great sympathy for everybody.
In 2000 Christmas fell on the second-last day of Ramadan (the Islamic holy month of fast). Because of that, in Europe, Africa, and Asia, the Community celebrated with its Muslim friends at night, at the moment they stopped fasting.
A meaningful event happened at the Soup Kitchen in Via Dandolo (Rome): the Muslim members of People of Peace, while fasting, served their Christian friends and two days later, at the end of Ramadan, the Christians in return did the same towards their Muslim friends.
Indeed Christmas Lunch is the tangible demonstration that different people can live together with great respect and friendship. Which is also the meaning of the feast.