The USDA lists 6 food groupings – six categories that are helpful in thinking about a healthcy diet, and into which most foods fall. • Fruits • Vegetables • Grains • Proteins • Dairy • Oils If you add JUNK food, there are 7. However, I think they missed a significant category. Today, I would like to talk about one particular kind of food: dangerous food.
I call this food ‘dangerous’ because this food <<hold up bread and wine >> when we bless it at Mass is a person. And this person asks of us a response. The meal we share so many weekends together: This is dangerous food
When Jesus said today, “I am the bread of life … whoever eats this bread will live forever… he was talking about HIS WAY OF LIFE! Eating the bread that is his body, drinking the cup that is his blood means a commitment that we will take on HIS world-view, HIS commitment to love. It is the choice to go forth from here and let this make a difference in how we live. Today. This is dangerous food indeed.
I wonder, if at times, it is too easy for us to treat the Eucharist as if this is merely some kind of a ‘comfort food’ so, to speak. I made the sacrifice to be here, and now I get this thing which is good for me, and kind of makes me feel good about myself. It gives me strength in the struggles and battles; and sees me through the rough patches. And that is all well and good.
But this Eucharist we receive is SO MUCH MORE than that. This food asks of us a commitment to a way of life. That we would let ourselves be transformed by him. This is food for the most important journey ever: the DIFFICULT journey of love.
Please allow me one story that has always haunted me a bit …
Some years ago, a newspaper photographer was sent to Ecuador to cover a devastating earthquake. In the midst of catastrophic suffering – he saw a simple scene of compassion that moved him deeply.
He said the line for people receiving food was long and at the very end, stood a young girl about 12 years of age. As she was slowly getting closer to the front, her attention seemed always to focus on three figures under the trees across the street. At long last she stepped forward to get her food. The workers were almost ashamed to tell her that all that was left was one banana. Quietly she took the precious gift and ran across the street where three small children waited.
He watched what happened and said, “She peeled the banana and then very carefully divided it into three equal parts. She placed the precious food into the eager hands of those three younger ones, then sat down herself, and …. licked the inside of the banana peel. The photographer said: “In that moment, I swear I saw God!”
Yes, he did see the face of God. For that is indeed the kind of God we have. Jesus “gave it all away”, even life itself that we could live. How right, then, that we would gather for Eucharist, to give thanks for such amazing, self-emptying love.
But we are more than spectators here. We too are called to enter into this dying, being willing to allow our bodies to be broken for love, our blood poured out for others. When Jesus asked the sons of Zebadee: “Can you drink of the cup of which I am to drink?” he was not asking if they had sufficient motor skills to get the cup to their lips. He was asking, “are you willing to do the dying that love will ask of you today?” And here is the other truth about that. Each time I come to this altar, I know that question is being asked of me. I never know exactly what that will look like, but I know it will be asked of me this day, in ways little, or big. When I drink of the cup, I am saying that I am willing to do the dying love will ask of me this day. This is dangerous food, indeed.
● Fruits ● Vegetables ● Grains ● Proteins ● Dairy ● Oils. The USDA would have us think about the food with take in with this framework in mind. Here, at this altar, we are called to remember that there is another food group: dangerous foods. Food that demands of us each day to do the dying that love asks. Will you drink the cup? Will you take the bread? The choice is yours…