I’ve often said that in my next life I would like to be a farmer. My declaration is non-specific regarding the kind of farming I would hope to do. I am partial to cows but my heart soars at the sight of wheat fields, corn and other vegetables growing. I haven’t really weighed the costs, physically and otherwise, that farming takes but I do admire farmers for their dedication and their goal of providing food for the hungry. I am often saddened these days upon hearing of the failure of crops and/or of farmers declaring bankruptcy. It is a hard life, to be sure, but one I value for its closeness to the earth, the rhythmic nature of the work and the products of the labor for the world.
This morning the prophet Isaiah predicts a time when everyone will have a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines with God as the host of this meal. (IS 25:6) The gospel text contains Matthew’s telling of the multiplication of the loaves (MT 15:29-37). In conjunction with many other organizations, my province of the Sisters of St. Joseph has taken as a justice focus “food as a human right.” It is our hope and our goal that someday soon there will be a more just distribution of what experts say is the sufficiency of food that already exists in the world so that no one will die of hunger or lack the necessary nutrition to live a full life.
As I ponder the way I can ready my heart today to receive the fullness of Christ’s presence at Christmas I may need to visit a grocery store and then a food pantry as I think of the hungry people in my own town. I might look for the catalog I have received from Heifer International where I’m able to buy chickens or a share of a cow for a family who will then have milk and eggs and then might pass on the next generations of those animals to others who have nothing. I might strike up a conversation with someone today on the topic of hunger and the necessity of action and come home to write a letter to my government officials to support legislation of the same. We are all in this world together. We need to find ways to feed each other. Today is a good day to move thought into action.