There are many different kinds of food and I don’t just mean the stuff we put into our mouths.
A few years ago a number of chicken soup books were published offering food in a different form; words of encouragement and hope for every human situation.
Significantly this series of over 250 titles has sold more than 500 million copies. People seem to understand that the kind of food that we humans need is not just found in recipe books but also in the essential human nourishment comes in many other forms.
And don’t forget Food for Faith!
Next Sunday Jesus will tell us that his body is real food and his blood is real drink. In our Catholic tradition we speak boldly and without hesitation or reservation of the Eucharist as the real presence of Jesus.
In today’s gospel Jesus doesn’t hold back in saying that those who “eat this bread” will have the one thing that all healthy humans desire above all else: LIFE, both now and eternally.
Babies and small toddlers fed by parents have little choice about what they eat. As they grow and exercise choice children become picky about what they eat and if left to themselves will pig-out on stuff that has little nourishment in it.
Teenagers and unhealthy adults take this to an extreme binging on food and drink which bring only fleeting satisfaction.
As we grow in maturity we learn that a healthy and balanced diet enables a healthy and balanced life. Realising that human nourishment comes in many forms we become discerning in all aspects of life, not only balancing our intake of food but also making sure that we have quality time with friends and a healthy balance of work, rest and exercise.
We soon realise that a banquet eaten at speed alone is nowhere near as nourishing as simple fare leisurely savoured with friends.
In the midst of life’s busy-ness and demands it is easy to focus only on the obvious nourishment of food for the body. But if we forget our need for food for faith, we lose perspective and quickly become victims of a secular machine which values quantity of output and ignores the practices, nourishments and relationships that bring quality of life.
A life-giving human relationship is a vulnerable treasure. This is also true of our relationship with Jesus. While He is holding us in loving embrace in every moment we lose sight of this life-giving fact all too easily. Within hours we begin to suffer the consequences of our forgetfulness. We become burdened and stressed. Life deteriorates into an existence, an endurance, as we overlook the beauty of God’s grace active in the joys, hopes, griefs and anxieties of daily life.
In the same way that you build into your daily routine time for eating and sleeping, family, work and friendship, recommit yourself today to simple life-giving routines of wasting time with God, giving Jesus the opportunity to satisfy your hunger with real food and to quench your thirst with real drink, that is His presence in your life.
“God has not called me to be successful;
He has called me to be faithful.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta