Food: Source and Substance

June 18, 2017

When we traverse the aisles at any of our grocery stores, there are many signs and labels.  “Organic” and “Fresh” are common tags to attract our attention.  Looking at the makeup of the ingredients sometimes feels like a science project.  But today the Scripture invites us to look at the food source.  In the Old Testament Moses shares with the people the source or origin of the food.  In the desert the manna was a food that God provided unknown to their fathers.  This is to signify it was not of this world, it came down from heaven.  The source of the food is crucial.  God has provided food not of this world in Old Testament times.  Now He invites us to a new food, also provided for us by God.  It has eternal origins.  It is the food that comes down from heaven.  This food is different unlike that of the Old Testament.  This food is the new and eternal covenant from God.  When we eat this bread we will live forever. This is the Body and Blood of Jesus.  The source of this food is the love of Jesus.  He gave us His life to nourish us.  It is given in love, and with love.

Another aspect of today’s solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus is hunger.  Where does our hunger lead us?  So often when we are hungry we go to the refrigerator.  Sometimes we go to a fast food restaurant, especially when they are open all night.  Hunger and thirst lead us.  We have special recipes we like; we have special restaurants we love.  In the same way, when the food at a restaurant does not live up to expectations or what our preferences are, we usually do not return there to eat.  Thirst leads us to energy drinks, caffeinated drinks and flavored drinks.  The invitation is to be in touch with what our soul is hungering for.  Our whole being needs this food from heaven.  Our whole being must allow our hunger and thirst to lead us here, to this place, a place of Sacrament.  This is the food that comes down from heaven.  When we realize the food source, when we recognize the love, our hearts are to be burning inside us for this food.

One of the most wonderful aspects of being a priest for me is the celebration of the Eucharist.  In the experience, I am able to witness your hunger and your thirst, knowing only God can quench your thirst and only God can fill your hunger.  It is beautiful and wondrous to behold.  I am humbled knowing God is doing the providing.  This day, let us allow our hunger to lead us to the food of eternity.

Reverend John J. Ouper