Saturday of Week 5 in Ordinary Time
“I feel sorry for all these people…”
These days, it is not uncommon for eating to become a public event. On YouTube, influencers are constantly posting about their meals while on Netflix, we watch food being prepared and promptly devoured on food shows and documentaries. Even in real-life, I find myself watching in amusement as diners in restaurants whip out their phones to document their latest culinary exploits before the food is marred by a single fork or spoon.
In today’s readings, we are confronted with two different accounts of eating. In the first reading, Adam partakes of the apple from the tree of life. This is done covertly and comes with severe punishment upon its discovery by God. In contrast, the second reading provides an account of Jesus feeding the crowd with seven loaves of bread and a few fish. Here, the food is given (and blessed) by God himself, and those partaking of it doing so in obedience.
Through the eyes of faith, we know that food is often an allegory for many other things in life. After all, it is not only food that we put into our bodies and souls. We consume images and ideas through various forms of media and we introduce either sin or goodness to our souls through our very actions. It is therefore no surprise that sinful actions and forbidden material are taken or consumed in private and often with considerable shame. On the other hand, we are unafraid of sharing positive articles or programmes with our friends. Nor are we wary of our good deeds being found out.
In our fallen world, it is all too easy to succumb to sin or subscribe to the wrong culture or ideas. Fortunately, the bible gives us some indication of what, and how, we should be living our lives. We know that the shame we feel when we are doing something that is forbidden has been placed there by God, to remind us that while we may be conflicted, we know that we have done something wrong and should ask Him for forgiveness. We also know that when faced with lack, we need only turn to Jesus. For even in our most dire straits, He will feed us. And all that comes from Him can only be good.
As we approach Lent, let us remember to restrain ourselves from foods and activities that bring us sin and shame. Rather, let us live our lives in the light of God, and let us reach out to Him for both guidance and providence.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Jacob Woo)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for the strength and discernment to always live our lives according to Your commandments. We ask also for Your forgiveness for those times where we have strayed.
Thanksgiving: We thank the Lord for all that He has given us, in good times and bad. We thank Him for the gift of our conscience, which He has placed in our hearts to remind us of our inherent love for all that is right and just.
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