Monday, April 20, 2009
Food.. more than just eating
Food, glorious food.. ah.. one of my weaknesses in life.. good food, esp pasta. A friend of mine returned my cook book on pastas, and i whet my appetite reading the recipes (what a sad dolt i am).
I belong to a group of Charismatic Catholics called Shalom Working Youth Fellowship (SWYF). The word youth is rather out of sync because we have people from every age group from toddlers to grandmas. On Palm Eve, we had a seder meal, and on the 1st friday of Easter, we celebrated our 27th anniversary. Yes, food was bountiful. Some of us (not me) ate to the point of the miracle working power of stretching the limits of the rubber waist bands of our pants. But all in all, it was a good time to be had by all. We ate, not only of the food, but also of the fellowship of one another, and as we partook of the meal, we also partook of each others lives and became more of a family. (yes, i know, some of you are shaking your heads now and thinking that i am stretching it, but bear with me).
I remember in my reading of ancient cultures, eating together was a big deal. If people ate together at the same table, they were considered to be family or very, very close. Enemies would never eat at the same table, because you could not or were not supposed to fight with "family". Hence the reason why in the older movies, you will see an occasional scene where one will say "I will never eat at the same table with ...." I remember my younger days, with my mom trying to have the family together for dinner. While it seemed like an inconvenience at that time, but in retrospect, it brought the family together at the table, it gave us opportunity to come together and share about our day or issues. It reminded us of our place in the family, we ate at the same table.
In our modern world today, we eat our meals at fast food joints, in small separate tables, with strangers surrounding us. I wonder if we have lost our sense of being family, being together...
John 21:12 is one of my favorite verses. This passage is always part of the gospel reading for the 1st friday of easter. It speaks of something close to my heart : food. Jn 21:12 says "and Jesus says : come and have breakfast..." What a great God we have : the verses before this says that Jesus cooked and prepared the meal and when his disciples came, he called them for breakfast, he called them for a meal... he called them to be family again. This was a time when the disciples was not sure if it was Jesus (because Jesus showed himself to them twice before this) but John (the beloved) pointed it out to Peter, but Peter was still hesitant.
I try to put myself in this situation with conditions which i am comfortable with. Let me rephrase the passage as follows : "And so Andre came back from a hard day at work, did nothing productive in the morning but after spending some time in prayer during lunch, God inspired him and the afternoon work brought enough attention to him to be considered for a promotion. When he got home, he was surprised to see a large pan pizza with extra cheese, together with a large tray of piping hot lasagna, together with his favorite beverage, a bottle of grape soda.. and Jesus said, "come and eat". I dig in, eventhough I am a pasta freak, i have a sense of hesitancy. I know that I am not worthy and yet, someone loved me enough to look after my physical needs, when it seemed like i might have nothing to eat. He who gave everything, his body to be tortured and crucified and his soul to bear the burden of our sins, is now feeding me. He is telling me that while life is uncertain and i might have doubts about his resurrection, eventhough he has proven himself time and again, Jesus still finds it fitting to call me to be part of his family, he still finds the time to cook for me and he still finds room in his heart to care for me.
Are you facing doubts in your life? Are you in a situation where you have worked your butt off and are expecting something to happen but you find yourself still waiting? Have you prayed and prayed and prayed and it seems like nothing is happening? Maybe we should sit back for a while, and open our ears and hearts. And as we do, we might hear John tell us "That is Jesus, whom you pray to.. he is the one who provided for you.. he is the one who took care of you when you were sick, or troubled... he is the one who died for you.. can't you recognize him?" and i pray that as we hear those words that recall what God has done in our life, we will be able to see God waiting for us with a meal, to satisfy our heart, to calm our fears, reminding us that we are his family... to sit at his table, to share our lives, to share our troubles, to satisfy our souls and that we will always have a place in his table. What a great God we serve.
The next time we meet, we should have a meal together.