Sunday, July 29, 2018

Being Fed


Food has always appealed to me, especially as a person who enjoys cooking. I look to the challenge of the preparation, the cooking, knowing when the particular dish is ready, and the taste test. In a way I have become a food critic, having developed a sense of taste over the years. This particular art was developed at a young age in my parent's kitchen as they always prepared our meals and we rarely ventured out to eat as there were so few quality eateries in the rural area that I grew up in. Having spent many years watching and assisting my parents in the kitchen cultivated my tastes, My food experience was a combination of Italian, German, and whatever else my parents decided to stir up.
Being married to my wife of Mexican-Japanese descent my horizons in this area have broadened along with the easy access of millions of recipes found on the web. I have been extremely fortunate to live in an area of Southern California where one can pretty much find any type of ethnic food they desire as well.  Consequently I am always fed with a variety of tastes which have multiplied over the years.


Being fed spiritually is another story. Much of my adult life was spent avoiding spiritual food like a one avoids their least favorite food, in my case liver. Although I attended Mass weekly, my inner being was not being fed. Taking communion was just another obligation along with Mass attendance, The Sacrament of Reconciliation was an empty ritual that little to no effect on my hardened soul. It was as if I was being fed with food that had no nutritional value. This of course was entirely because I was not in place spiritually to truly taste and see the goodness of the Lord. I avoided spiritual reading much like child revolts against a certain food being served at the dinner table.  Yet I was still hungry not knowing what this emptiness actually was.


God does have funny ways of working with people. It was as if the most nutritional dish was put before me time and time again which I turned away from. Patient like a parent who is trying to instill good eating habits to a stubborn child, God knew that a some point I would give in to my hunger for goodness. A new food that is exploding with a bouquet of taste would bring me back to the table again and again.  There would be no more rebelling against the liturgy, communion, and the teachings of the Mother Church. I was being filled but would still hunger. However this hunger would not be one of futility, but the desire to quench the spiritual void with more.


The story doesn't end. In the today's Gospel from John (JN 6:1-15) we see Jesus multiplying the loaves for the hungry group of men who followed him. Here I see the need to be fed daily by Jesus and also feeding others.  It  isn't enough just to be fed but to share with others the Good News, the spiritual food for life. For me this is similar to a chef who is constantly looking at new foods to add to menu and opportunities to bring in new clientele. Many opportunities exist from the call I have received (EPH 4:1-6) to continue on with work of the Lord and carry on the message of faith, hope and love.

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