From the prophet Elijah to Jesus, today’s readings speak of the importance of eating to keep up our strength for living – both physically and spiritually. We find Elijah journeying into the desert (1 KGS 19:4-8) where, in a moment of desperation, he lies down under a tree and asks God to let him die. Instead, an angel wakes him and orders him – twice – to eat, having provided the food that will keep him alive and strong on his trek through the desert (a forty-day trip) to Horeb, the mountain of God.
The psalmist is eloquent in calling us to “taste and see the goodness of the Lord” in one of the most lyrical and inviting of the entire Book of Psalms. “Glorify the Lord with me,” he sings. “Look to God that you may be radiant with joy!…Taste and see how good the Lord is; blessed is the one who takes refuge in God.” (PS 34:2-9)
John’s gospel has Jesus speaking boldly of himself as “the living bread that has come down from heaven. This bread,” he promises, “is my flesh for the life of the world.” (JN 6:41-51)
There are so many ways we could reflect on these readings today. We might consider our need for bodily sustenance and our responsibility for feeding not only ourselves but also those who do not have enough food. We could think metaphorically about spiritual food and our longing to strengthen our desire for God in Eucharist or other prayerful exercises. Or…
As I prepare breakfast for the retreat participants here at our center for the weekend, I will try to maintain a focus of generosity, adding love as the main ingredient of the food to be offered to them. What will be your practice concerning food today?